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Old Feb 13, 2012, 02:21 PM   #1
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European Commission Approves Google's Motorola Mobility Acquisition [Update: USA Too]




Google has received approval from the European Union for its planned purchase of Motorola Mobility. This is one of a number of governmental approvals that Google needs before the purchase can continue, including sign-offs from the governments of Israel, Taiwan, China, and the United States. The U.S. Justice Department is expected to approve the acquisition this week.




Reuters:
Quote:
The EU executive, which acts as the competition regulator for the 27-member European Union, said the deal would not significantly change the market for operating systems and patents for these devices.

"We have approved the acquisition... because upon careful examination, this transaction does not itself raise competition issues," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

But Almunia said he was worried about the possibility of abuse of patents by Google and other firms now involved in a series of legal disputes over intellectual property rights.
Last year, Google announced its would acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. If the acquisition proceeds, Google would gain control of thousands of Motorola's wireless patents, along with its handset manufacturing business, among a number of other components.

Google would also take charge of a number of lawsuits that Motorola is currently participating in, including a number involving Apple.

Update: The United States Department of Justice has signed off on the acquisition as well.

Article Link: European Commission Approves Google's Motorola Mobility Acquisition [Update: USA Too]
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 02:26 PM   #2
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Google just got evil-er.
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 02:45 PM   #3
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understandable...

It's not evil, just necessary if you're in the corner of supporting Android to it's fullest potential.

It appears that Google needs to acquire Motorola Mobility in order to expand it's patent portfolio and protect it's future product devices from legal attacks. I don't personally care much for the Android platform but this seems to make sense from a Google business perspective.
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 02:49 PM   #4
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Yea, and...

Just read that on the NYT. They also mention something else: Samsung being "under investigation" for bullying with patents through national injunctions and FRAND abuse.

About the Google deal, the NYT:
"But the deal, coming at a time of hightened scrutiny by regulators over ownership of intellectual property governing computers and mobile communications, moved Mr. Almunia to indicate that the commission would be watching."
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 02:53 PM   #5
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Of particular interest, as reported in the New York Times, was this statement from Joaquín Almunia, the E.U. competition commissioner:

Quote:
But Mr. Almunia expressed strong concerns about the way powerful technology companies had participated in setting the standards for the proper functioning of mobile devices like smartphones.

Owners of such patents could, “hold up competitors or even an entire industry to the detriment of consumers and innovation,” he said. “I can assure you that the commission will take further action if warranted to ensure that the use of standard essential patents by all players in the sector.”
Emphasis Mine.
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 03:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Peace View Post
Google just got evil-er.
Competition is good. Now, there is another competitor who replaces Nokia having software and hardware in-house. I don't think they are evil just because they take the next step to advance.

Apple and Google could actually grow up, cross-license their patents and reserve new patents for the first 6 months or so and then thrive the technology on mobile devices. Just immagine the possibilities: 2 American companies competing for having the last notch on each other's device! Would not be the first time: Intel and AMD, for example, cross license things like 64bit, SSE, etc. and together rule the market on PC - and even Apple cannot go past those two when it comes to desktop and server processors. Granted, they faught each other in court, but overall, they support each other with cross-licensing.
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 03:18 PM   #7
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European Commission: "Monsieur. Your deal, she is approved."

Google: "YAY! We're SAVED! ... What? Those patents are all FRAND-encumbered? Uh. What's FRAND?"
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 04:10 PM   #8
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Sorry...

browser timed out and submitted twice!
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 04:11 PM   #9
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US regulators just OK'd the deal too.
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 04:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rdowns View Post
US regulators just OK'd the deal too.
Was it ever in doubt?
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 05:34 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post
European Commission: "Monsieur. Your deal, she is approved."

Google: "YAY! We're SAVED! ... What? Those patents are all FRAND-encumbered? Uh. What's FRAND?"
Well done.
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 06:31 PM   #12
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It'll be interesting to see how Google stands as a hardware manufacturer. I think it's a good move by them and, hopefully, we'll see some good Android handsets in the future. Competition (with Apple) is a good thing.
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 07:10 PM   #13
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The European Commission wants to know why this is in the Mac blog?
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 07:38 PM   #14
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The DOJ just approved the Nortel patents buy by Apple, Microsoft and RIM too.


http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/13/d...-pa/#continued

I see an interesting war brewing.
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 07:40 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Atlantico View Post
The European Commission wants to know why this is in the Mac blog?
Maybe the mods hid it here to reduce the chance of a flame war breaking out...

Its well worth reading the US Justice Dept. statement on their investigation into the acquisition of the Nortel and MMI patent pools.

Quote:
In its analysis of the transactions, the division took into account the fact that during the pendency of these investigations, Apple, Google and Microsoft each made public statements explaining their respective SEP licensing practices. Both Apple and Microsoft made clear that they will not seek to prevent or exclude rivals’ products from the market in exercising their SEP rights. ----

Google’s statement therefore does not directly provide the same assurance as the other companies’ statements concerning the exercise of its newly acquired patent rights. Nonetheless, the division determined that the acquisition of the patents by Google did not substantially lessen competition, but how Google may exercise its patents in the future remains a significant concern.
This seems to be a very clear indication that both the US and European competition authorities are extremely concerned about the possibility of Google abusing its acquired Intellectual Property.

If nothing else, I hope that today's announcement give the people orchestrating Google/MMI's legal strategy some reason to think very hard about how they are proceeding. Google is a very large, very successful company that has prospered incredibly over the past decade or more by (in part) adhering to a principal of "Don't Be Evil." Nothing would do more to sully the positive brand and reputation Google has built up by wide-ranging anti-trust actions of the part of the US and European authorities. The temporary advantage of getting an injunction banning an iPhone in Germany will pale in comparison to the stigma of being publicly labelled as an aggressive monopolist by Government agencies on both sides of the Atlantic.

Lastly, I'd like those forum participants who regularly label Apple as being either the instigator, or simply as a market "bully," to consider the implications of these statements from the EU and US agencies. Neither the EU nor the US Justice Department are known as being partial to any one company: their credibility and authority depend upon their being perceived as fair and even-handed in their treatment of the companies that come before them. These agencies aren't worried about Apple, or RIM, or Microsoft "stifling competition" - they are worried about Google.
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 10:56 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Mad-B-One View Post
Competition is good. Now, there is another competitor who replaces Nokia having software and hardware in-house. I don't think they are evil just because they take the next step to advance.
In this case, it's almost the opposite of competition. Google owns android and now a hardware company that makes android phones. What's going to happen to all the other phone manufacturers that make android phones ? Do you think that now Google may not want to support them since they are in competition with Motorola ?
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Old Feb 14, 2012, 08:44 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Plutonius View Post
In this case, it's almost the opposite of competition. Google owns android and now a hardware company that makes android phones. What's going to happen to all the other phone manufacturers that make android phones ? Do you think that now Google may not want to support them since they are in competition with Motorola ?
Actually, no. Google is up against Apple, Miscrosoft, and RIM (and maybe a spin-off from HP?) for dominance in operation systems for mobile devices. Windows 8 will press into the market. If they go exclusively, App programmers will drop Android like a hot potatoe. I see Motorola as a vehicle for Google - nothing more. They might push a certain hardware conformity which might pressure hardware suppliers to get on the "certified" list for the "guarantied supported in Andriod OS" which then gives these phone producers some sort of market power since getting onto the list might come with low-price stipulations.
Anyways, that is where I see this is going.
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Old Feb 14, 2012, 09:45 AM   #18
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I wonder if Google will drop Samsung as the "flagship" phone creator and now use themselves since they now own a hardware creator.
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Old Feb 14, 2012, 01:20 PM   #19
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A likely scenario: Samsung forks Android

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I wonder if Google will drop Samsung as the "flagship" phone creator and now use themselves since they now own a hardware creator.
Google wouldn't officially state that. They'd want to string Samsung along, since they're crushing all other Android hardware makers (at the high end.) Some people have said that Samsung could dictate Android features and strategy to Google because their slice of the Android pie is biggest. But when it comes down to it, I doubt Google would favor Samsung over Motorola Mobility, despite Samsung's dominant position among Android device makers. And Samsung would likely tire of constantly complaining about missing features and/or conflicting Android roadmap wish lists.

If Samsung decides that Google is favoring Motorola or ignoring their feature requests or otherwise doing something with Android that doesn't line up with Samsung's strategy, they could "pull an Amazon." They could easily create their own custom, proprietary, closed fork of Android. Like Amazon did with Kindle Fire.

It would be catastrophic for Google if the leading Android hardware maker created their own fork of Android and ignored subsequent releases from Google. Especially if, like Amazon, Samsung's fork of Android didn't send customer information back to Google. Customer info is what many of the major tech companies and e-tailers are fighting over. It's a gold mine.

Android's main purpose, from Google's perspective, is to serve as a platform for ads. And knowing each user better is the key to serving up more relevant ads to them. Android's main purpose, from Amazon's perspective, is to generate sales of physical and digital goods from Amazon.com. Amazon tracks customers' sales histories, product affinities, and browsing patterns with their proprietary Silk browser. And they send none of that back to Google. Amazon learns more and more about their Kindle Fire customers. Google doesn't. Too bad, since Kindle Fire now dominates the low-end Android "padlet" market.

Samsung could do the same. Fork Android, customize it, and fine-tune it for their specific hardware. Then, over time, Samsung could work on building an iTunes-like, App Store-like, iCloud-like infrastructure. It would add value to Samsung products the way Apple's infrastructure adds value to iDevices and Macs. And Samsung's infrastructure would help them understand their customers better, to yes, serve up more relevant ads to them. Completely independently from Google.

So where would Motoroogle end up after all this? After Samsung runs off with their own proprietary, closed, optimized version of Android? Well, I suppose there could be a "reference" Android RAZR phone every few years, running the vanilla version of whatever Android release is current. And I suppose they would be about as successful as the Nexus phones have been so far.

Worth $12.5 billion? Hardly.
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Old Feb 14, 2012, 02:08 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post
Google wouldn't officially state that. They'd want to string Samsung along, since they're crushing all other Android hardware makers (at the high end.) Some people have said that Samsung could dictate Android features and strategy to Google because their slice of the Android pie is biggest. But when it comes down to it, I doubt Google would favor Samsung over Motorola Mobility, despite Samsung's dominant position among Android device makers. And Samsung would likely tire of constantly complaining about missing features and/or conflicting Android roadmap wish lists.

If Samsung decides that Google is favoring Motorola or ignoring their feature requests or otherwise doing something with Android that doesn't line up with Samsung's strategy, they could "pull an Amazon." They could easily create their own custom, proprietary, closed fork of Android. Like Amazon did with Kindle Fire.

It would be catastrophic for Google if the leading Android hardware maker created their own fork of Android and ignored subsequent releases from Google. Especially if, like Amazon, Samsung's fork of Android didn't send customer information back to Google. Customer info is what many of the major tech companies and e-tailers are fighting over. It's a gold mine.

Android's main purpose, from Google's perspective, is to serve as a platform for ads. And knowing each user better is the key to serving up more relevant ads to them. Android's main purpose, from Amazon's perspective, is to generate sales of physical and digital goods from Amazon.com. Amazon tracks customers' sales histories, product affinities, and browsing patterns with their proprietary Silk browser. And they send none of that back to Google. Amazon learns more and more about their Kindle Fire customers. Google doesn't. Too bad, since Kindle Fire now dominates the low-end Android "padlet" market.

Samsung could do the same. Fork Android, customize it, and fine-tune it for their specific hardware. Then, over time, Samsung could work on building an iTunes-like, App Store-like, iCloud-like infrastructure. It would add value to Samsung products the way Apple's infrastructure adds value to iDevices and Macs. And Samsung's infrastructure would help them understand their customers better, to yes, serve up more relevant ads to them. Completely independently from Google.

So where would Motoroogle end up after all this? After Samsung runs off with their own proprietary, closed, optimized version of Android? Well, I suppose there could be a "reference" Android RAZR phone every few years, running the vanilla version of whatever Android release is current. And I suppose they would be about as successful as the Nexus phones have been so far.

Worth $12.5 billion? Hardly.
Thanks for the background info. After reading this it would just make sense to pull an Amazon, but I guess waiting for the inevitable is probably the wisest choice. I just wish Google would do it like Apple - updates at the same time for every device and just a consistent flow of new phones not a weekly / bi-weekly deal. It sucks to see competition lose so quickly because that can't slow down and create a better strategy.
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Old Feb 14, 2012, 09:00 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by AFPoster View Post
I wonder if Google will drop Samsung as the "flagship" phone creator and now use themselves since they now own a hardware creator.
You wonder?
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 03:21 AM   #22
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Thanks for the background info. After reading this it would just make sense to pull an Amazon, but I guess waiting for the inevitable is probably the wisest choice. I just wish Google would do it like Apple - updates at the same time for every device and just a consistent flow of new phones not a weekly / bi-weekly deal. It sucks to see competition lose so quickly because that can't slow down and create a better strategy.
Thanks. I aim to please (about 80% of the time.)

But doing large-scale iOS updates of millions of devices simultaneously is probably harder than you'd think. I have no personal knowledge of Apple's iOS update technology, but having only a few specific iPhone and iPad (and Apple TV) models to update must drastically simplify the whole process.

And iOS 5's "incremental update" feature should ease the load on their servers. You don't need to download 600MB or more just for a X.X1 bug-fix update. That paves the way for quick and easy over-the-air updates (when LTE and LTE-Advanced aka "4G" are finally rolled out on a large scale.)
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