Monday, August 15, 2011

Big Move by Google

Google and Motorola are in the midst of a deal that would give the internet search giant it's own mobile platform for the very low low price of $12.5b or just over 65% above the price of Motorola stock. It's not certain what google intends to do with Moto, but I'm sure their patent holdings were a big part of the mix.

Google is in a patent fight with Apple over it's Android OS and as a relatively young company they haven't built up the kind of patent stable you need for that kind of fight. The way it works for most companies is simple, company A sees that company B is controlling a piece of the market share in a product line. Company A finds some obscure patent that they own with which they can sue company B for infringement. Nobody wants to lose their investment so company B tracks down a patent that company A is in violation of and then they negotiate until both sides get to make their product and both sides get paid. The problem for Google is that they don't own very many patents and certainly very few in the mobile phone world. This is where Motorola will really shine in their portfolio. The only question is will they be allowed to make the deal. There's significant reason to suspect that an anti-trust challenge would succeed. But Google is betting it wont and they are putting up $2.5b in earnest money that they'll lose if the deal falls apart. You want to bet that kind of money, you better know something.

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