Google loss in Nortel patent bids undermines Android, analyst says

Cash-rich Google should have beat out consortium that includes Apple, Microsoft.

By , Computerworld |  Software, Android, Google

Google's failure to win a bid on 6,000 Nortel patents raises doubts about Google's commitment to Android and its large community of developers and device manufacturers, one prominent analyst said Friday.

Florian Mueller, an intellectual property analyst and blogger, said by email that it was surprising Google, which is rich with cash, didn't outbid a consortium of six companies that yesterday offered $4.5 billion for the Nortel patent portfolio . The portfolio spans wireless technology and related area.

" Google lost an unprecedented opportunity to acquire a major bargaining chip that would strengthen it at the mobile industry's intellectual property negotiating table," Mueller contended. "I'm afraid it won't get a similar opportunity in quantitative and qualitative terms anytime soon."

According to Mueller, there are already 45 patent infringement lawsuits surrounding Android and makers of Android devices. "In light of Android's patent problems, it's surprising that Google didn't outbid everybody else," he said. "It could have afforded more than $4.5 billion, but it doesn't appear to be truly committed to Android."

Mueller has contended in his blog and in articles he has written for the UK-based Guardian newspaper that Google has generally been too weak in terms of patents it owns to protect Android and a huge evolving ecosystem around it. That ecosystem now includes more than 300 smartphones and tablets made by several prominent manufacturers and supported by thousands of developers large and small.

Google's senior vice president and general counsel Kent Walker issued a statement that the outcome of the Nortel bidding was "disappointing for anyone who believes that open innovation benefits users and promotes creativity and competition." He vowed that Google would "keep working" to reduce the "flood" of patent litigation.

Walker had blogged in April that Google was bidding for the Nortel patents in hopes of creating a disincentive for groups planning to sue Google, its partners and the open source community.

Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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