Google surprised the mobile market Monday morning with the announcement that it is purchasing Motorola Mobility for US$12.5 billion. The deal gives Google a long list of patents it can use to help defend its Android OS platform in court, which the Internet search giant is more interested in than Motorola’s hardware offerings.
Google CEO drove that point home by saying, “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.”
The recent Nortel patent portfolio purchase that included Apple and Microsoft left Google out in the cold, and also cast the company as anti-competitive since it refused to team up with Microsoft for the purchase. Google was seen as trying to score the portfolio for itself so it could turn around and attack other mobile device makers.
The Motorola deal will give Google more patents to use in its legal games, although the company hasn’t said yet exactly how it intends to do once the purchase has been completed.
Google did say that Motorola will continue to run as an independent company. That decision, however, could give Motorola an advantage in the smartphone market that other Android device makers don’t share since it will have easier access to Google and the Android development team.
Google and Motorola’s deal still faces standard regulatory approval and is expected to be completed in late 2011 or early 2012.