Feeds

Google left out of $4.5bn Nortel patent deal

Android left nude as enemies shrug on extra IP armour

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Apple, Microsoft, RIM, EMC, Ericsson and Sony all chipped in to buy the patents, which cover critical 4G and wireless broadband technologies, leaving Google empty handed.

The companies announced the purchase last night, with RIM admitting it had thrown $770m in the pot and Ericsson pegging its contribution at $340m. The amounts contributed by the other parties aren't yet known but all will share in the ownership of the patents and, perhaps more importantly, the protection from litigation they offer.

Google had bid $900m for the portfolio, which is the last remnant of former telecommunications-giant Nortel – everything physical having been stripped down and sold off following the company going titsup in 2009.

The patents are certainly valuable, but these days the real value is in owning a bigger pile of patents than everyone else, as Google so eloquently put it when buying up the patent portfolio of failed phone manufacturer Mudo last month:

"One of a company's best defenses ... is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services," the company said at the time.

But clearly the chocolate factory didn't consider it worth $4.5bn to protect Android and the Android ecosystem, which is under attack from various patent-holders, including Microsoft. Patent-watcher Florian Mueller concludes that this means Google isn't serious about Android, which seems a little harsh, but it does indicate a limit to the protection that Google is willing to provide.

The real danger is that patents like these fall into the hands of a company that needs no defence, such as Lodsy: a company that makes nothing (so needs no patents) so can sue claimed infringers of its patents with impunity. Most of the mobile (and IT) companies survive on the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) mechanism, it served us well during the Cold War but only works as long as everyone has a roughly equivalent portfolio and an interest in staying alive.

The consortium should keep everyone in business, but we'll have to wait and see if the members decide that the best form of defence is a significant offence. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.