Google Bought Motorola for the Patents

Firm seeks protection from intellectual property litigation: Kit Eaton
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2011 1:48 PM CDT
Google Buys Motorola Mobility... for the Patents
A Motorola Mobility Xoom tablet is shown at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility isn’t just about giving the company a seamless ability to blend hardware and software—it also buys Google a new set of patents, helping to shield it from Apple and Microsoft complaints about intellectual property infringement. Apple is already battling Samsung over the “theft” of its IP, and Microsoft has launched similar attacks on makers of Android devices. “By grabbing Motorola,” writes Kit Eaton at Fast Company, “Google's certainly gained access to more patents to shore up its Android patent portfolio and thus enable it to counter (and respond with counter suits) any future IP threats.”

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Shira Ovide agrees: After a history of litigation against it, what Google “really wants out of Motorola Mobility is its guts: the patents.” But it’s not just IP infringement cases that have dogged Google: Newspapers, publishers, and Hollywood firms have also sued the company, fearing it's secretly aiming to become a content creator. This purchase is likely to stoke those fears, writes Ken Auletta in the New Yorker. “If Google is to acquire a mobile-telephone company, why not a film or television studio?” (Read more Google stories.)

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