Nortel patent win by Apple, Microsoft and RIM against Google might be investigated by antitrust regulators

Nortel patent win by Apple, Microsoft and RIM against Google might be investigated by antitrust regulators
Google got fleeced in the beginning of the month, when a consortium of companies took part in the bid for bankrupt Nortel's wireless patents under the enigmatic name Rockstar Bidco. Despite Google opening the floor with $900 million, the patent portfolio was awarded to the recently created Rockstar Bidco, which turned out to be none other but Microsoft, Apple, RIM, EMC, Sony and Ericsson. These six companies paid jointly $4.5 billion, and won the bidding in the last moment.

Now the winning bid is apparently being scrutinized by antitrust regulators in the FTC and DOJ, says unnamed source, which are trying to figure out if the deal wasn't deliberately created to choke Android's patent lifeline that Nortel's intellectual property would create. While it might have been Google to tip the Feds off, it still might present an obstacle for the six competitors to lay hands on Nortel's treasure trove of wireless patents.

With 6000 of them, Nortel's IP covers most aspects of wireless communications, all the way to LTE, and even includes some Internet-related patents, complete with search and social networking components. This might have shielded Android and the manufacturers from all the litigation coming its way from Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and others. That is why the American Antitrust Institute sent a letter to the Department of Justice to start investigating the largest ever intellectual property bid for antitrust issues.

Robert Skitol, an antitrust lawyer, comments: “Why is the portfolio worth five times more to this group collectively than it is to Google? Why are three horizontal competitors being allowed to collaborate and cooperate and join hands together in this, rather than competing against each other?

Brian Kahin, a senior fellow at the Computer & Communications Industry Association, says in his turn: “The one thing that’s significant here is you have three of the four smartphone platforms ganging up on the fourth. You want patents for an economic benefit, not as a legal instrument.

When asked for comment, Apple and Microsoft declined, since the deal is expected to close today. We'll see how this Nortel patent saga will unfold further down the road.

source: WashingtonPost



1. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

When the rebellion becomes too strong, the empires must unite to take it down.

3. ayephoner

Posts: 858; Member since: Jun 09, 2009

Sniggs, they used your shirt!

5. zhenghua

Posts: 28; Member since: Jun 13, 2011

they use sniggly dog shirt :)

2. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I know there is something fishy going ...

4. christianqwerty

Posts: 467; Member since: May 05, 2011

Google is just mad they didn't win the patents....

6. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Yeah.... like its pretty normal to see apple and Microsoft on the same side... this winning bid may be just used to Sue other companies and make them pay some $$$$$ or remove them from the market

7. corps1089

Posts: 492; Member since: Jan 20, 2010

So its antitrust to dominate the market by consolidating competition and imposing your single agenda on consumers, but its also antitrust to team up with competitors to gobble up a larger company and divide it's pieces amoung the crowd? Which is it guys? Oh yeah, maybe it's favoritism from a government agency... go figure.

9. AppleFUD unregistered

Yes, it is anti-competitive behavior to make certain types of agreements with competitors. Like price fixing. Every heard of that? This would be no different. Competitors of Google who are getting their mobile a$$es handed to them team up to create a "fix" that will favor them over others, especially Google. . . DUH! Now put down the punch and walk away.

8. messiah

Posts: 438; Member since: Feb 19, 2010

Clearly Google is doing something right if all other sworn enemies are trying to vainly disrupt Google's performance and skyrocketing market share. I say Google just proved a victory here

11. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Is not victory if they can't prove it

15. ladyhaly

Posts: 106; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

The act itself is indicative of such. Otherwise, would such an event even exist? No. You do not join arms with your opponent unless necessity deems you to.

10. Mike S unregistered

If you look at the recent activities ( lawsuits and attacking alliances ) by the big three Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle there seems to a lot collusion for the purpose of killing open software of which Google is the biggest user and proponent and with Android being the most successful platform. It looks like Microsoft is back to its all monopolistic practices since it can't compete through innovation. There is definitely collusion here and it needs to be investigated since ultimately is the the consumer that loses by lack of choices.

13. hepresearch unregistered

Not sure if I agree, but it is possible, and I like the thought. +1

16. ladyhaly

Posts: 106; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

That's true. The huge innovative revolution in the technology arena for smartphones and tablets as of this age have come to benefit consumers over all. Google with its Android OS-enriched devices (most of them branded by manufacturer) paved the way for Apple's iPhone to have tough competition--- thereby resulting in this influx of new, improved, and highly capable handsets able to serve our purposes and help us in our daily lives being released every few months. Microsoft, Sony Ericsson, and RIM lost a lot of market share when Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and LG produced beautiful, intuitive, functional, and premium Android devices. The former three teaming up with Apple in order to eliminate the culprit of HTC and Samsung's increasing market shares seem... necessary in order to get their less popular handsets back in the market game. I dislike what they did. I'm just glad Nokia didn't get involved with that Rockstar Bidco thing. It's like pulling on dirty tricks on someone to disable them because you just can't keep up with competing fairly against their brilliance. While someone can argue that what they did is legal, do take note that not everything that can legally be done is honorable. It's like bullying--- but in a subtle grown-up modern capitalist way. This being said, I don't think I'll be buying any Sony Ericsson, RIM (Blackberry), or Windows Phone 7 handset any time soon. What Microsoft tried to do disgusts me most, since with the elimination of Android, there would only be their mobile OS to turn to if consumers wanted a refined user experience. Before Android came to view, their Windows Mobile OS sucked. And I know because I owned one. Ended up throwing the device against the wall because it was a brick--- nothing else. Made my life miserable, what with messages coming in late, lagging, taking up 3 minutes just to text, "Okay, will be there soon"... It's a really negative experience.

12. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Sounds like a company is bitter that they lost the patents. Maybe they should spend less time whining and more time fixing the buggy as hell Android.

14. MorePhonesThanNeeded unregistered

You sire are an idiot, Google isn't doing anything. The FTC and DOJ are looking into this because it looks incredibly ridiculous and following the wave of lawsuits directed towards Google by few of the cadre of companies in that consortium is cause for alarm. I hate stupid people even more than I hate stupidity...yes it's a choice to be that blind and stupid which you seem to have no problem doing. Carry on sir as your posts do tend to amuse me at times.

17. ladyhaly

Posts: 106; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

Less time whining and more time fixing? Oh wait. You mean you? Yes. You definitely need that.

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