Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility has been given the green light by European and US regulators.
Both the US Justice Department and the European Union Competition Commission approved the $12.5bn acquisition overnight. However, EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia warned that the organisation was not unconcerned about Google abusing the patents it has bought. He said: 'This merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices. This is our worry.'
The US Justice Department also approved the acquisition of patents from collapsed Canadian company Nortel by Apple, Microsoft and Research in Motion (RIM). The department said it was encouraged by statements from Apple and Microsoft that said it would not file infringement lawsuits based on the acquired patents.
However, it added: 'Google’s statement does not directly provide the same assurance as the other companies’ statements concerning the exercise of its newly acquired patent rights. Nonetheless, the division determined that the acquisition of the patents by Google did not substantially lessen competition, but how Google may exercise its patents in the future remains a significant concern.'
The Google/Motorola Mobility deal now needs to be approved by Taiwan and Israel before it can formally go ahead. Once the deal is completed, Google will have access to Motorola Mobility's extensive portfolio of 17,000 existing patents and 7,500 applications.