It was back in August that Google announced it was planning on purchasing smartphone and tablet manufacturer Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.
Almost six months to the day, regulators in the US and European Union have given the go-ahead for the transaction but the company was warned that regulators would be keeping a sharp eye on company to ensure patents critical to the telecoms industry would be licensed at a fair price.
Since the announcing its intentions, Google has been upfront about the main reasons behind the purchase, which are Motorola Mobility’s 17,000 patents and 7,500 patent applications, as it seeks to defend itself in an on-going legal battle with Apple over the look and functionality of its Android mobile operating system.
However, regulators on both sides of the Atlantic are eager that Google won’t use these patents to charge rivals exorbitant licensing fees. These patents are said to be essential to ensuring different firms’ phones and tablets work well together.
“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,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told reporters in Brussels.
The purchase of Motorola Mobility was announced soon after the search giant failed to buy a cache of patents from Nortel which were eventually purchased by an Apple-led consortium. Regulators have now also approved that transaction, which also included RIM, Microsoft, EMC, Ericsson and Sony – who collectively paid $4.5bn for 6,000 patents.