Google got green signal from EU to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. As per Reuters “Google Inc won unconditional EU regulatory approval on Monday for its planned $12.5 billion purchase of mobile handset maker Motorola Mobility.” This package comes with a condition that EU would monitor the search giant’s patent usage to ensure that it honors the rules and regulations of EU and honors the competitors usage of those.
It is known that Google announced in August 2011 that it would acquire the sinking ship aka Motorola Mobility to boost its near zero IP assets. EU wants to monitor the usage of those patents by the Google in future because they are worried that Google might abuse the power of those patents and its near monopoly on mobile platform, advertising based search. Google is already battling the issue raised with its privacy guideline changes with a lot of privacy advocates here and around the world in addition to other cases due to its near monopoly in search. Google’s “Do No Evil” mantra is also under fire because of the abuse Google is selling its users’ privacy to its clientele. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said “This merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices. This is our worry.”
Let us wait and see how the Android OHA partners like Samsung, HTC and others would react to this because Google, the Android supplier, has become sudden competitor them, and Google has unprecedented control on Android first. Also it would be interesting to see how and Apple and Microsoft would ensure that they are safe. I think Microsoft has Nokia, which has equal number of patents that Motorola Mobility has, if not more in addition to its own Patent Portfolio. I wonder Apple also has those or will go to EU and US DOJ if it sees a small issue in the patent usage by Google.
Update: A lot of pundits from blogosphere think that Apple should worry about this, but I think it is the otherwise. Google should worry about Apple more because even a single misuse of its patent power would lead Google to Courts by both Apple and EU.
Update: Of course this merger needs approval from US DoJ (which is inevitable) and consortiums from China, Taiwan etc. which I don’t think stop Google from acquiring Motorola Mobility.