$12.1bn splurge to pull once-mighty mobile giant Motorola under its digital umbrella ranks as the big-money deal of the year so far.
The popular opinion is that Motorola’s treasure trove of patents was the key to opening up Google’s rather fat wallet, but the search giant’s former CEO Eric Schmidt says the patents are less of a factor in the deal than everyone thinks.

Schmidt currently holds the title of Google Executive Chairman after sitting in the CEO hotseat for most of the Android era (he also sat on Apple’s board for a while back in the days when the companies were more chummy).
And speaking at a business conference in San Francisco over the weekend, he played down the notion that the chance to arm itself with thousands of new patents was the biggest factor that drew Google into the Motorola acquisition, a notion that has led to some observers calling the move “a mistake”.
“We actually believe that the Motorola team has some amazing products coming,” Schmidt is reported by TechCrunch as saying. “We’re excited to have the product line, to use the Motorola brand, the product architecture, the engineers. having at least one area where we can do integrated hardware and software.”
The event also saw Schmidt put a different spin on the very public frustrations various Android stakeholders have been expressing lately about the current culture of “patent bullying”.
He revealed, for example, that in the case of a bunch of Nortel Networks patents that some Google staffers have claimed the company’s rivals grouped together to buy just to sabotage Android’s process, Google was actually active deep into the bidding process, and only pulled out because it felt the price had gone too high.
Schmidt also let slip that just about all of the US patent fights “that are interesting” are settled specifically in the East District Court of Texas. We haven’t the slightest clue what to make of that, to be honest, but it’s something we didn’t know yesterday.


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