Apple, Microsoft, RIM To Buy Nortel Patents

I think we just witnessed the seed for a whole boatload of new patent lawsuits in the mobile space. The bid for the massive Nortel patent portfolio, has been won not by Google, but by a consortium of companies including Apple, Microsoft, and Research In Motion. Sigh.

The consortium consists of Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion, and Sony, and they’ve bought the entire portfolio of 6000 patents for $4.5 billion. The patents cover wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider, semiconductors, and more. We don’t know all the shares just yet, but RIM contributed $770 million, and Ericsson $340 million.

“Following a very robust auction, we are pleased at the outcome of the auction of this extensive patent portfolio”, said George Riedel, Nortel’s chief strategy officer and president of business units, “The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world.”

I’d honestly hoped Google would get it. Not because Google is better or worse than the others, but because it would’ve been better for the market. Now that Apple and Microsoft have access to these patents, you can bet your sweet bum they’re going to use them offensively – Apple in lawsuits, Microsoft in their quest to mafia Android manufacturers into paying protection money.

Sony Ericsson just saved themselves from some major possible hurt from these patents, and whatever RIM is doing I don’t know – the company is in deep trouble, so it might start suing others left and right too. This doesn’t make me happy. The deal will have to be approved by regulators.

Well, at least we’ll have enough to report on for the coming years. Lining, cloud, silver.


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