Report: Apple & Microsoft Buy Novell Patents

| News

Microsoft, Apple, EMC and Oracle are the owners of a holding company that recently purchased some 882 patents from what’s left of Novell. The purchase took place earlier in 2010 when CPTN Holdings LLC bought the patents for US$450 million as part of Novell’s purchase by Attachmate, but a German Web site revealed that the four companies listed above are the actual owners of CPTN Holdings, as reported by Foss Patents.

CPTN was known to be a “consortium organized by Microsoft,” but which companies had partnered with Big Redmond remained unknown until now. What remains unknown is which patents are included in the list of 882 bought by the consortium, and how they will be divided up or other used by the four companies involved.

Another unknown is why any of the four companies would have needed the others to make the deal happen. Apple has more money on hand than Carter’s has pills, and the other three companies could each have made the purchase out petty cash. Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle have also been known much more for their fierce competition over the years than the few things on which they have cooperated, making the partnership that much more intriguing.

Thanks to MacRumors for the heads up on this story.



Two things: First,it is not just “a German Web site”, it is the Website of the Bundeskartellamt which is the German state agency which handles all mergers of companies in Germany and has the power to refuse such a merger. (Why a German state agency is involved in this is beyond me. )

Second, even though each of these companies could have bought these patents on their own, by sharing they each pay $112 million instead of $450 million. That’s $338 million saved. Let’s say someone at Apple said “these patents are for sale, and if the right patent troll buys them, that could cause us $200 million damages”. And someone at Microsoft said the same thing, and at Oracle, and at EMC. Not enough damage to buy the patents for $450 million, but enough damage to chip in $112 million.


Could it otherwise be that they believe that by no one company holding these they will be able to escape the agony of patent litigation?

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account