Everybody seems to agree that the reasoning behind Google's fat-check acquisition of Motorola Mobility is about one thing: patents. Last month, a consortium of companies including Apple, Microsoft and Research in Motion beat Google in an auction and purchased Nortel's portfolio of 6,000 patents for $4.5 billion. With 24,000 patents, Motorola Mobility's portfolio dwarfs that of Nortel's, and the $12.5 billion all cash price tag makes it seem like Google got a deal by comparison. That said, the tech community seems both nonplussed by the surprise power play and assured about the reasoning behind the purchase.
The acquisition obviously bolsters Google's patent portfolio. Peter Kafka at AllThingsD sums up this argument neatly: "The search giant is spending $12.5 billion on 25,000 patents, and getting a handset maker, too." Founder Larry Page says so himself on Google's Official blog and points to last week's much-blogged-about "When patents attack Android" post and adds:
We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to "protect competition and innovation in the open source software community" and it is currently looking into the results of the Nortel auction. Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.
Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha echoed this sentiment on an investor call Monday morning. "We believe that we'll be able to provide much better support to the businesses at Motorola Mobility as well as the Android Ecosystem," said Jha.