US likely to OK Google acquisition of Motorola Mobility

9 Feb 2012

The Motorola DEFY+ smartphone

The US Department of Justice is likely to formally approve Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility as early as next week. However, in Europe, concerns about Google’s commitment to opening up the rich trove of patents to competitors may be a stumbling block.

Last year, internet search and advertising giant Google and Motorola Mobility entered into an agreement whereby Google was to acquire Motorola Mobility for US$40 per share in cash, or about US$12.5bn.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the US Department of Justice is poised to OK the deal.

Considering the drama caused by the patent battles between Apple and Samsung, it is not surprising the EU is cautious about approving the deal.

Europe has been the battlefield for most of the high-profile clashes between Apple and Samsung. Last week, Apple had to temporarily remove certain iPhone and iPad models from its online store in Germany following a court decision in December.

Since beginning the acquisition process, Google has been clear that it does not intend to become a clone of Apple in controlling the hardware and software ecosystem of new devices like smartphones and tablet computers end to end, but would rather seek licensing agreements.

To convince Europe of its sincerity, perhaps Google – which has significant operations in various European countries – would be wise to show how it intends for this structure to work.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years