Google first announced their plans to acquire the mobile device maker Motorola Mobility in August 2011, and after several months of regulators considering antitrust concerns it is expected that the acquisition will be approved by both US and EU authorities.
About one month before Google launched their mobile wallet they announced their intentions to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, their largest acquisition to date. Many speculated how this acquisition would help propel Google Wallet since the company would own a mobile wallet application, a mobile operating system and now a mobile handset manufacturer, although this isn’t necessarily the case. Motorola manufactures mobile devices, but it is the mobile network operators that subsidize and provide the majority of mobile devices in the US, and these wireless carriers will have a strong say in what applications they allow to work on the devices they offer their customers. Google could ensure that all future Motorola devices run the Android OS, but not guarantee they all come with Google Wallet pre-installed.
What Google is really after in this acquisition is Motorola’s 17,000 patents owned and 7,500 patents pending. As Samsung, Apple, Microsoft and others continue to take patent disputes to court Google is hoping this plethora of Motorola patents will help protect them from such patent litigation. To quell antitrust concerns Google promised to cap their fees for licensing their technology, vowed to license the Motorola patents on “fair and reasonable terms,” and made clear the conditions under which they may sue a company for patent infringement.
The acquisition is expected to be approved by both the Department of Justice and EU the week of February 13. Reuters reports that two sources close to the matter expect approval from United States while other sources in Europe expect the regulators to rule that the acquisition will not hinder competition.
Update: U.S. Department of Justice and EU Regulators approved the Google-Motorola acquisition on 2/13/2012 but approval is still pending from China and Israel.
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