Their most recent acquisition is from Magnolia Broadband, which apparently sold its entire patent portfolio to El Goog for a wad o' cash of undisclosed dimensions. The deal was made public by Mooreland Partners, the financial firm that advised Magnolia on the deal. Their brief press release reads as follows:
Mooreland Partners Advises Magnolia Broadband in the Sale of Its Patents to Google
Bedminister, New Jersey/Mountain View, California – June 4, 2012 - Mooreland Partners is pleased to announce that it has acted as financial advisor to Magnolia Broadband (Magnolia) in the sale of its patent portfolio to Google (GOOG). The sale for Magnolia is the 22nd transaction advised by Mooreland Partners since the start of 2011 and the sixth announced this year.
CrunchBase indicates that Magnolia Broadband is the leading innovator (and patent holder) behind Mobile Transit Diversity, a “beam forming” technology that allows wireless network providers to improve data speeds and coverage without having to make physical changes to their base stations. Which is an interesting set of patents, but not necessarily ones that would be useful in the ongoing mobile devices patent wars.
Which leads us to the question: what are they for? We should note that this isn't the first time Google has shown an interest in wireless networks - they were granted a patent for a method of bidding for network bandwidth this spring. We’re not quite ready to believe that Google plans to move into the data pipeline business in a big way (although they are laying a lot of high-speed fiber in Kansas City); perhaps these data transmission patents will play a role in some of the whole-home automation and audio projects Google is rumored to be working on?
sources: Engadget, CrunchBase