Apple, Microsoft Win Nortel Patents, Google Out

The bidding frenzy for Nortel’s patent portfolio is over and a consortium that includes Apple and Microsoft walked away with a prize that includes over 6,000 telecommunication-related patents. Google, however, walked away empty handed.

Nortel said its portfolio included patents and patent applications covering “wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider, semiconductors and other patents. The extensive patent portfolio touches nearly every aspect of telecommunications and additional markets as well, including Internet search and social networking.”

Nortel sells off its patent portfolioConsortium to Nortel: All your patents are belong to us!

The company put its patent portfolio on the auction block after declaring bankruptcy in 2009.

The purchase set the consortium back some US$4.5 billion. Other members of the group include RIM, Sony, EMC and Ericsson.

Missing out on Nortel’s patents is a blow to Google and its Android OS platform. The Internet search giant’s mobile device operating system has already been attacked over patent infringement claims, and expanding its relatively slim portfolio could have put the company in a better position to defend itself or even third-party companies that develop for Android.

The $4.5 billion price tag after bidding seems to have been more than Google wanted to spend, and the price seems to have been something of a surprise to Nortel. “The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world,” commented Nortel’s chief strategy officer and Business Units president, George Riedel.

Nortel expects to wrap up the patent sale process with the consortium in the third quarter of 2011 following standard U.S. and Canadian court approval. A joint hearing is expected to be held on July 11.