In recent headlines, Motorola Mobility became a part of Google’s seemingly ever expanding corporate empire. Google paid twelve and a half billion dollars for the company, a seemingly high price. However, the surprise move by Google was not motivated purely by its desire to expand in the marketplace. The decision was partly made to avoid future legal distractions and expenses for the company.
Because of the large degree of crossover between Google and Motorola technology with the release of Google’s Android mobile operating system and Motorola’s most recently released cell phones, many of which are purpose-built to run Android, issues with patent infringement and intellectual property rights have arisen. The simplest way for Google to avoid future legal headaches was to purchase Motorola Mobility, effectively making all of its patents and intellectual property its own.
Google possesses relatively few patents compared to many other tech companies. Motorola owns more than seventeen thousand patents, with a great many more pending. Google has been the target of patent lawsuits by other companies in the past, and its new ownership of Motorola is hoped to protect it and Android from such legal battles and liabilities in the future.
Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility is also intended to keep Android ahead in the marketplace, allowing it a competitive edge against other technologies that are also performing well and could damage Android’s sales in the future.
Competition goes on, however, as other companies seek to acquire their own treasure troves of patents. Apple, whose iPhone operating system is one of Android’s main competitors, is thought to have plans to buy out Nokia. Apple has been in a similar position as Google in the past. Nokia has targeted Apple in lawsuits for infringing on its intellectual property, and Apple may want to pull a maneuver similar to Google’s by acquiring it.