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15 August 2011 @ 12:45 pm
Google has finally done something intelligent!

Unfortunately it wasn't allowing pseudonyms on Google+ =P

They did however finally make one of the purchases that people have theorized would be a good way to help them out in the IP wars.

A month or three ago people started speculating that Google ought to buy one or more music industry companies. It would solve a lot of their legal problems and give them an instant way to start selling stuff via their Google Music project. If Google has actually looked into doing so there's been no word about it.

A month(?) ago there was the bidding war for the Nortel patents. Google tried to grab them but didn't do a very good job of it. Was it wise or foolish of them to refuse joining the alliance that eventually made the purchase? I guess time will tell?

However a couple weeks ago i saw a couple articles theorizing that Google ought to buy Motorola, or rather the branch of Motorola that handles cell phones. There were three reasons for this. First, Motorola has a ton of patents related to mobile phones. Second, Motorola has been performing poorly and was ripe for a buyout. Third, Motorola has been threatening to use its boatload of patents to solve its financial problems by suing other manufacturers of Android phones. In fact it was theorized by some of said articles that the threat to sue other companies making Android phones was actually intended as an inducement for Google to buy them out. Kind of a reverse protection racket or something?

So today it was announced that Google is indeed buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. That's.... a lot of money. In fact it's more than twice the winning bid for the Nortel patents. Actually, upon double-checking it's pretty close to three times the winning bid. I know Nortel had "thousands" of patents. How many does Motorola have? Three times as many? Or patents that are three times as valuable? I dunno. Hopefully it will be enough to stop and maybe even reverse some of the stupid legal crap Apple and Microsoft have been trying to pull.

The other big question is how this is going to affect Google's relationship with other cellphone manufacturers and their use of Android. Google says they're going to run Motorola as a separate company, but i'm not sure how reassuring that will be to the other players. It don't think it really matters to them whether Google runs Motorola directly or not, just whether, or rather how much preferential treatment it gets. Google could probably help allay those fears by stepping up their efforts to help defend the other companies from patent related lawsuits. HTC and Samsung in particular have been having a lot of problems lately.

Of course it's possible the deal will get challenged, but given that the competition is Apple and Microsoft, both of whom effectively already control both the software and at least some of the hardware, and both of whom already have a ton of patents with which they are already suing everyone they lay eyes on, if the FTC considers it for more than a minute or two i'm gonna go bang my head against a wall or something.