Antitrust Investigation of Apple Led Nortel Patent Purchase

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Despite authorizing some of the individual companies involved, antitrust regulators are said to be investigating the $4.5 billion consortium purchase of Nortel's patent portfolio last week. Per the WashingtonPost:
Federal antitrust enforcers are scrutinizing whether Google, often accused of abusing its Web search power, is facing an unfair coalition of companies that could block its popular Android mobile phone software, according to a source close to the matter.
The patent portfolio was won by a consortium including Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, RIM and Sony. There has already been speculation that the acquisition is a big blow to Google's Android whose manufacturers may be subject to additional patent licensing fees. TechCrunch summarizes how the auction played out based on a Canadian court document that was released last week.
While much of the press after the auction focused on the Rockstar group's win, the court documents make it very clear that it was actually Apple that won in partnership with Rockstar. Apple was the only group that had not dropped out. Again, they staked the Rockstar group to ensure a victory for the stronger player. Why was Rockstar the stronger player? Because of the other companies involved. RIM, EMC, Ericsson, Sony, and yes, Microsoft.
The interest in the portfolio was significant due to the broad reach of the patents, especially in the area of wireless networking and LTE technology.

Article Link: Antitrust Investigation of Apple Led Nortel Patent Purchase
 

*LTD*

macrumors G4
Feb 5, 2009
10,703
1
Canada
Google might have a pretty big pickle on their hands. The whole food-nomenclature thing with Android is very appropriate. Especially when patent-wise they seem to have laid an egg.

Those who have more patents market and litigate.

Those who have fewer patents market and worry.
 

bryanl

macrumors member
May 11, 2008
40
3
The smartphone os market is pretty competitive. I do not see an issue here.
Ganging up with other companies to exclude another party is anti-competitive. Doesn't matter how we feel about it, if they truly are engaged in illicit activities.
 

*LTD*

macrumors G4
Feb 5, 2009
10,703
1
Canada
Ganging up with other companies to exclude another party is anti-competitive. Doesn't matter how we feel about it, if they truly are engaged in illicit activities.
Bidding pi and the distance to the sun is also pretty stupid.
 

Ryth

macrumors 68000
Apr 21, 2011
1,568
133
Maybe they should have saved up some cash instead of buying Youtube for billions.

It's their own stupidity for the spot they are in and their Android system blows anyway. It's fragmented and bloated and has no eco-system or direction.
 

black743

macrumors 6502
Dec 27, 2010
407
6
Huntington, WV
So wasn't Google out to buy these patents for the same reasons? Would Google have been investigated as well? We all know that Google, had they won, would have held LTE hostage from all the other companies, as I understand this is one of the patents involved.
 

iDisk

macrumors 6502a
Jan 2, 2010
825
0
Menlo Park, CA
Google has backed itself into a corner ... No one in the tech industry really cares about the companies other businesses besides search...

Only reason Android is popular, is because they give it away. You give anything away it's likely to have a big "adoption".

Google is just being a baby, and I hope they loose.
 

tekker

macrumors regular
Feb 9, 2011
102
0
Maybe they should have saved up some cash instead of buying Youtube for billions.

It's their own stupidity for the spot they are in and their Android system blows anyway. It's fragmented and bloated and has no eco-system or direction.
...and Android is still a huge success.
 

iDisk

macrumors 6502a
Jan 2, 2010
825
0
Menlo Park, CA
Google might have a pretty big pickle on their hands. The whole food-nomenclature thing with Android is very appropriate. Especially when patent-wise they seem to have laid an egg.

Those who have more patents market and litigate.

Those who have fewer patents market and worry.
You touched on a important topic... Google is patent dry in this market, and this is there only way to be competitive.

If the company showed loyalty towards Apple and the other tech companies in the area, they might have had a chance at some of these patents.
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
come on no matter who won they woul going to investigate. Also add in the list of company who banned together it does raise some red flags.
Chances are the result of it will come that require licensing out of the patents and not using them as weapons to hurt other companies.
 

brunnecc

macrumors newbie
Sep 26, 2008
4
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Colorado
Business

It's called business kids, otherwise it wouldn't be worth the $ to buy the patents in the 1st place...

-Chris
FOM
 

tekker

macrumors regular
Feb 9, 2011
102
0
They influenced the antitrust regulators, to "investigate", it's so obvious, that Google is behind this.
Can I get a source for that factoid, big guy? From everything I've read, Google didn't take the auction very seriously and really didn't want the patents that bad.
 

Worksafe

macrumors newbie
May 31, 2010
21
0
Microsoft vs Google

They should be investigating Microsoft for it's anticompetitive move before and during the auction since some of the patents that they were already paying for would have continued on regardless of who owned them and not been cancelled. What Microsoft wanted was to keep Google from touching the patents at all and I believe that Google let Microsoft play right into their plan since now it looks like it is anticompetitive.
 

MacNewsFix

macrumors 6502a
Oct 27, 2007
653
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Twin Cities
What the what?!!!

Again, they staked the Rockstar group to ensure a victory for the stronger player. Why was Rockstar the stronger player? Because of the other companies involved. RIM, EMC, Ericsson, Sony, and yes, Microsoft.

Huh? :confused: While I believe I get the general sentiment from that quote, it comes across more like gibberish than anything.

Addendum: Ok. I went to the original article, and now it makes sense. BTW, no disrespect meant to the author of the original post.

Also, you have to love MG Siegler's articles. His writing is pretty entertaining (loved the incorportation of Casino Royale) and well researched.
 
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iDisk

macrumors 6502a
Jan 2, 2010
825
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Menlo Park, CA
Can I get a source for that factoid, big guy? From everything I've read, Google didn't take the auction very seriously and really didn't want the patents that bad.
Sorry it's just a personal opinion, but its kinda common to say "you didn't really want the patents" when you loose the bid...

I just hate what Google did to Apple, so i'm biased. (if thats not obvious :) ), but at least I'm honest about it
 

jayducharme

macrumors 68040
Jun 22, 2006
3,441
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The thick of it
I don't see how this can be construed as anti-competitive. Google wasn't excluded from bidding; they dropped out. And Apple doesn't have sole control of the patents, even if they're a major stakeholder. The patents are spread out among a wide number of mobile companies ... it's just that Google isn't in the mix.
 

tekker

macrumors regular
Feb 9, 2011
102
0
Sorry it's just a personal opinion, but its kinda common to say "you didn't really want the patents" when you loose the bid...

I just hate what Google did to Apple, so i'm biased. (if thats not obvious :) ), but at least I'm honest about it
They bid pi and the distance to the sun... I think it's safe to say that they didn't want the patents that bad.
 

Pimp Lucious

macrumors newbie
Feb 10, 2011
20
0
Can I get a source for that factoid, big guy? From everything I've read, Google didn't take the auction very seriously and really didn't want the patents that bad.
Actually despite the odd bids, they did take it seriously, but went in with a maximum amount they were willing to spend. Once the bids exceeded 4 billion, Google was done. What does it matter if the the bids weren't perfectly rounded up to the million or billion when the winning bid was half a billion over their max.

It's a shame that innovation is giving way to buying up patents and extracting fees to kill off competition.
 

dashiel

macrumors 6502a
Nov 12, 2003
876
0
So wasn't Google out to buy these patents for the same reasons? Would Google have been investigated as well? We all know that Google, had they won, would have held LTE hostage from all the other companies, as I understand this is one of the patents involved.
U.S. Anti-trust law is more likely to view a group acting in unison as a violation of antitrust laws than a single entity. Having said that the government would need to prove the consortium was intent on using the patent portfolio to harm others in the mobile phone industry. That’s an exceptionally tough case to prove – let’s face it the state of the government regulations on anti-competitive behavior has been crap for decades. Apple, Microsoft, et. al., can easily point to the litany of patent trolls suing them and claim the portfolio is just a shield and/or leverage in negotiating cross-licensing.
 

Pimp Lucious

macrumors newbie
Feb 10, 2011
20
0
Sorry it's just a personal opinion, but its kinda common to say "you didn't really want the patents" when you loose the bid...

I just hate what Google did to Apple, so i'm biased. (if thats not obvious :) ), but at least I'm honest about it
What exactly did Google do to Apple?