updated 03:10 pm EDT, Fri June 17, 2011
Apple and Intel cleared to bid on Nortel
Both Apple and Intel have been cleared to bid in Nortel's vital wireless patent auction, contacts slipped out on Friday. After investigations, both have been allowed to go ahead. Ericsson had also been greenlit, according to the Wall Street Journal, and was being accompanied by RPX, a proxy company that buys patents to avoid them being used against its clients.
Google had already been approved and is considered the baseline at $900 million. It serves as a "stalking horse" meant to deter patent trolls as well as low bids from companies that might buy in solely to sue Android developers, such as Microsoft.
RIM is unusually still an unknown quantity in the auction despite being a fellow Canadian company. A calamitous quarterly result could discourage action given the price for a company already warning of sinking profits.
Apple might have a similar interest to Microsoft in using the patents against Android developers like HTC. The acquisition could still be used as a defensive measure and work as a bargaining chip in disputes with Motorola, Samsung, and others.
Intel could use the patents for similar reasons but may be mostly interested in expanding the options for the wireless unit it acquired when it bought Infineon. Most of the patents focus on LTE 4G, Wi-Fi, and other wireless technology that Intel would want to use in future products.