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DOJ said likely to clear Google-Motorola, Nortel patent deal

updated 07:50 pm EST, Wed February 8, 2012

DOJ may OK Google-Motorola with conditions

The Department of Justice is leaning towards approving Google's takeover of Motorola, insiders leaked Wednesday. It wasn't clear what the motivating reasons were in the Wall Street Journal tip, but the approval could be publicized as soon as next week. Regulators would mostly be watching to see if Google abused the patents it would get with Motorola to attack competitors.

An actual implementation of the merger would still hinge on getting EU clearance, albeit roughly at the same time as in the US. There, Google has been promising to offer fair rates for Motorola's standards-based patents. It's unknown if this would see Motorola under Google back off from its current stance, where it has tried to get high 2.25 percent royalties from Apple, Microsoft, and others regardless of the product.

Apple and Microsoft have both vocally complained about Motorola's current attitude. The former petitioned ETSI just this week to set tougher conditions that would discourage lawsuits based on standards. Samsung is already under scrutiny for possibly abusing its own standards patents, insisting that a refusal to take any rate it sets is grounds for a lawsuit.

As a possible balance to Google's acquisition, the DOJ is now also expected to approve the joint Nortel patent purchase. The coalition of winning bidders, which included Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Sony, and others, has been waiting since the summer. Officials were worried that the bid for thousands of patents was the prelude to a lawsuit campaign and, in leaks, purportedly wanted promises that this attack wouldn't happen. The portfolio might instead be used to discourage either original or countering lawsuits with an easy weapon.

A successful Google takeover of Motorola could destabilize Android. Despite statements from other Android partners claiming that the deal would keep Motorola distant would be good for protecting the OS from patent attacks, Google has shown mounting signs that it might unfairly favor Motorola. It may have poached an Apple hardware quality veteran, and chairman Eric Schmidt has admitted that hardware was a factor in the $12.5 billion takeover. Statements that HTC, LG, Samsung and others gave endorsing the deal on its announcement have been treated with suspicion, since it was clear that each had been given a boilerplate response pledging loyalty rather than allowed to give their own reactions.

by MacNN Staff



  1. SierraDragon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bad News

    Large firms (even one as dominant as Google) buying smaller firms for their tech and employees is fine. But large firms buying other large firms just for competitive because-we-are-now-so-big purposes or for patent control purposes is anti-competitive and unhealthy for the industry and for the consumer. It should be strongly discouraged. Econ 101.

  1. facebook_Sam

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012



    Of course the DOJ is going to approve this, as the government seems to be more than happy to bend down and kiss Google's ballsack. This merger just increases the size and reach of the Google monopoly, which is something an effective DOJ would kill ASAP.

  1. facebook_Thabo

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012


    Google will not offer fair rates, according to the

    Google has send a letter to the IEEE today in which they deny to offer fair rates to competitors, I think the DoJ might want to reconsider this deal before giving the go ahead!

    Read the whole 4 page PDF Google send to the IEEE below:

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