San Diego – Back on June 14th in our entry titled Microsoft And Others Oppose Nortel’s Proposed Patent Sale to Google we reported that major technology companies such as Microsoft were objecting to Google’s $900 million bid to purchase Nortel’s patent portfolio. It appears that Microsoft and a consortium of rival tech companies have backed up their objections and outbid Google.
The consortium, which includes Microsoft, Apple, Sony, EMC, Ericsson, and Research in Motion purchased the patents for $4.5 billion in the auction that took place over several days. The portfolio consists of over 6,000 patents for different technologies, including the 4G wireless technology, which is supported by the Android phone.
“This outcome is disappointing to anyone who believes that open innovation benefits users and promotes creativity and competition,” Google Senior Vice President and General Council Kent Walker said in a statement. “We will keep working to reduce the current flood of patent litigation that hurts both innovators and consumers.”
In a world where technology patents are often disputed, Google and its host of Android competitors are no strangers to legal battles. In 2010, Apple filed a patent infringement suit against Taiwanese phone-maker HTC while software giant Oracle is suing Google for $2.6 billion in damages for the alleged infringement of patents that Google used in its Android mobile operating system.
It comes as no surprise that Google was eager to purchase Nortel’s portfolio to protect itself in an increasingly patent litigious world. What is surprising is that Google allowed itself to be outbid by its rivals. This was Google’s big opportunity to position itself as a major player in Android technology with an impressive patent portfolio to strengthen its negotiating power.