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Leak shows Apple led 'Rockstar' group buying Nortel patents

updated 02:45 am EDT, Sat July 2, 2011

Apple key to winning Nortel bids

The consortium win in Nortel's auction was headed by Apple against a Google that was at times difficult to take seriously, uncovered details from the inside have shown. The group, nicknamed "Rockstar," led almost from the start and was facing off against just Google by the very end. After already reaching $3 billion, the two sides seen by Reuters' observer bid in $100 million increments up to $4 billion, where Google "tapped out" even after getting special permission to continue past an earlier $3 billion limit.

Ericsson had at one point been trying to bid by itself, but decided to join Apple by Tuesday once the stakes got too high.

Others backed out relatively quickly, the tips hinted. Intel quit on Wednesday, and the Huawei-backed RPX consortium was one of the first to back out after it became clear that the bigger companies were determined to get the patents for vital parts of their business and not just exploring possibilities. It too had been considering a partnership but never found one before the auction was over.

Google's behavior in offering countering bids beyond its original "stalking horse" was odd, sources said. During the auction, it was making unusual bids, based on the distance between the Earth and the Sun and other esoteric conditions that were fun but irrelevant. Its last bid, once values passed $3 billion, was actually $3.14 billion, or Pi. Some have doubted that Google was serious and may have either been having fun or deliberately drawing attention to its bids.

It's still unknown what if any action the consortium will take with the patents, which focus mostly on wireless such as 4G and Wi-Fi. They could at least be used as defense against patent trolls and other competitors. Alternately, they might be used to sue other companies, although the pact coming from a consortium may prevent even Apple, Microsoft, or RIM from suing over a patent without consulting each other.

Apple's lead suggests it more than anyone had the deepest interest in pursuing the patents and may have been hoping to use them as a foil against others with wireless patents, like Nokia, or as further damage against targets like HTC or Samsung.

by MacNN Staff



  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    this is where

    having $50B+ in the bank comes in handy.

    "whatever you bid, I can bid way beyond that. So, are you still in?"

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    don't understand

    why Microsoft was part of the consortium... unless they saw the writing on the wall and chose to be part of the winning side.

  1. facebook_Hafiz

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jul 2011



    google was just fooling around!

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I doubt the consortium is

    going to be able to hobble Android with some weak patents. The consortium probably got the patents so Google couldn't use it against them. All the analysts think that Android OS is just going to roll over every other mobile OS indefinitely which I find unlikely. I think as long as there are other companies willing to use something other than Android, they could hold some market share just for diversity. One would figure there'd have to be some companies that won't buy into the "use me, I'm free" movement.

    Wall Street will probably punish Apple for spending money on some "useless" patents when they feel Apple should have been giving a dividend or buyback to investors. They'll look at that money spent as $4.x billion down the drain in their belief that Android OS is unstoppable.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. facebook_Judy

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jul 2011


    thank you for your visit ,in web there accept credit cart,new and top quality items,we can do the best seviece to everyone,thanks Discount Ed hardy tshirt ( Discount Ed hardy jean ( Discount Ed hardy shoes ( Discount Ed hardy handbag ( Discount Ed hardy other porduct ( Discount Nike air jordans ( Discount Nike Air Max 90 Sneakers ( Discount Nike Air Max 91 Supplier ( Discount Nike Air Max 95 Shoes Supplier ( Discount Nike Air Max 97 Trainers ( Discount Nike Air Max 2003 Wholesale ( Discount Nike Air Max 2004 Shoes Wholesale (

  1. bazaarsoft

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Everything to do with defense

    This has very little to do with offense, and OS's, and everything to do with defense. When anyone else tries to come after anyone in the consortium, they now have these patents to offer up in a cross licensing agreement. Nokia or Samsung suing you? They can't make a 4G phone without these patents. Just another piece of the (stupid) patent litigation claim. Oh, and it can help existing litigation as well.

  1. vanax

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Huge personal win for Steve Jobs

    For Jobs, universal networking capability is the overarching goal as he so emphatically stated upon his return in 1989.

    These patents having seemingly almost fallen right into his lap, I bet that Steve Jobs considers this apparently unplanned acquisition an awesome boon because his overriding goal with all of his devices, from the iPad to the iMac was and is their networking aspect, to make them network for the consumer in such as way as to completely eliminate any connectivity issues or methods so that all is data communication, all of the time, all in a network of communicating devices.

    The timing of this propitious acquisition of the cache of intellectual property seems to fit perfectly with Apple's new but still a somewhat mysterious data center, yes?

  1. xmattingly

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I think we can all agree...

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who would tell "facebook_judy" that he/she/it can go f#!k themselves.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Leak shows...

    Apple led 'Patent Troll' Group...

  1. macnews1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Google doesn't care

    They ignore patents anyway and just build stuff - patents be dammed. Think their bidding was never serious, just wanting companies to pay more $$$.

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