After almost six months of consideration, the European Commission and US Department of Justice have finally allowed Google’s buyout of Motorola Mobility. The $12.5 billion deal likely is more for the wireless patents that Motorola holds than the actual hardware produced, so obviously so that the language that the DOJ used to describe its analysis is heavy with reference to Moto’s history of “intellectual property disputes”:
The specific transactions at issue, however, are not likely to substantially lessen competition. The evidence shows that Motorola Mobility has had a long and aggressive history of seeking to capitalize on its intellectual property and has been engaged in extended disputes with Apple, Microsoft and others. As Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility is unlikely to materially alter that policy, the division concluded that transferring ownership of the patents would not substantially alter current market dynamics. This conclusion is limited to the transfer of ownership rights and not the exercise of those transferred rights.
The transaction still cannot take place until approval comes down from China, Israel, and Taiwan, but the precedent set here is practically carved in stone. In addition to Google’s victory today, the DOJ has also approved the sale of Nortel’s 6000+ patent portfolio to a consortium of companies that include Apple, Microsoft, and RIM. At the end of the day, the patent battle will never cease but Motorola’s future within Google is still quite the mystery.