The U.S. Department of Justice, as well as the European Commission’s antitrust regulators, have cleared Google’s proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility.
That means Google “just needs to clear a few more regulatory hurdles before it can take control of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and expand into manufacturing phones, tablet computers and possibly other consumer devices for the first time,” according to The Associated Press report.
“The combination of Google and Motorola Mobility will help supercharge Android. It will also enhance competition and offer consumers faster innovation, greater choice and wonderful user experiences,” Don Harrison, Google’s vice president and deputy general counsel, said in an Official Google Blog post.
With the acquisition, Google would get control of more than 17,000 patents from Motorola’s trove. Google and other tech companies including MIcrosoft and Apple have been battling fiercely over patents for mobile devices.
In his statement on the DOJ approval of the merger, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith referred to the DOJ’s concerns over potential anticompetitive uses of standards essential patents (SEP).
Smith said: “We are encouraged that the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission both have raised concerns about the misuse of standard-essential patents and Google’s failure to address this issue in a satisfactory way…”
The DOJ had said in its statement that its concerns over “potential anticompetitive use of SEPs was lessened by the clear commitments by Apple and Microsoft to license SEPs on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, as well as their commitments not to seek injunctions in disputes involving SEPs. Google’s commitments were more ambiguous and do not provide the same direct confirmation of its SEP licensing policies.”
Google declined comment other than to point to the letter it issued last week on its patent stance.
[Update 4:05 p.m.: The DOJ Monday also cleared the acquisition of certain Nortel patents by a consortium including Microsoft, Apple and RIM, and the acquisition of certain Novell patents by Apple.]