Design Con 2015
Breaking News
News & Analysis

Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents

8/15/2011 05:48 PM EDT
33 comments
NO RATINGS
Page 1 / 2 Next >
More Related Links
View Comments: Threaded | Newest First | Oldest First
chanj0
User Rank
CEO
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
chanj0   8/15/2011 6:35:19 PM
NO RATINGS
All about the patent... would the other Android smartphone vendors see the same? Where will Android smartphone go in the future? Will Google become a smartphone vendor in addition to supplying Android?

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
junko.yoshida   8/15/2011 6:57:55 PM
NO RATINGS
These are all good questions, chanj. But how effective Motorola Mobility's patent portfolio may become for "protecting the future of Android" still remains to be seen in my opinion. See my blog: http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-blogs/rambling--round/4218792/Tell-me-how-exactly-Google-can--supercharge--Android

Patk0317
User Rank
CEO
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
Patk0317   8/15/2011 6:45:57 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree - it is all about the patents - otherwise why would Google increase its employee base by 60% and get into the dog eat dog world of mobile phone manufacturing?

terion
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
terion   8/15/2011 8:05:57 PM
NO RATINGS
Where is this business (or any other business) end, when this amount of effort and money is spend on patent wars over some some really ridiculous patents. Being IP lawyer in these days is much more profitable than being engineer. Innovation isn't value anymore.

old account Frank Eory
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
old account Frank Eory   8/15/2011 8:13:34 PM
NO RATINGS
The Motorola patents are certainly a rich prize, but I'm not sure it's all about the patents. It's interesting to hear people ask why Google would want to be in the hardware business, like that's a dumb idea, and yet it makes perfect sense that Apple is in the hardware business. This acquisition makes Google look much more like Apple on many levels, and puts the two companies on more of a direct collision course, as others have already noted.

Matt.Ronning
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
Matt.Ronning   8/16/2011 12:19:15 AM
NO RATINGS
Frank: I agree with you! Matt

wirelessworm
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
wirelessworm   8/16/2011 2:09:40 AM
NO RATINGS
I really agree that they are now "on more of a direct collision course". Google walks along a similar way as Apple? But of all things, google need to protect itself from being torn down by other giants

Tunrayo
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
Tunrayo   8/16/2011 1:11:52 PM
NO RATINGS
I also believe it's not only about patents. Google needs to have more control on the hardware (smartphone) it wants to run its Android software on. With the PC, Google's business is based on the internet and that has worked so well over the years. However, with the smartphone, which is predominantly device-based and app-based, Google needs to have more control on the device and optimize it for Android among other future products. I feel Google wants to have a hand in making the device as well, so it doesn't have to be limited by how innovative other manufacturers will be. (HTC, Samsung etc) And of course if it can make a few bucks selling devices, why not? Apple continues to show that people will pay up to $600 for a phone ... that is as expensive as some laptops.

Jared Mahonrimoriacamer
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
Jared Mahonrimoriacamer   8/15/2011 8:30:29 PM
NO RATINGS
What do you think patents are? They are to protect innovation - they are legal descriptions of innovative ideas.

cdhmanning
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
cdhmanning   8/16/2011 2:06:49 AM
NO RATINGS
That might have been the original intention, but patents are highly destructive to innovation. It is really, really, hard to write any software or design any product that does not infringe or a patent, or get so close to infringing that you will end up in court. As an engineer do you really have the time to assess the implications of patents on the work you are doing? No! All that happens is that one day you get a call saying that your original work infringes on a dubious patent. I have a heap of patents in my name, only a few of those are really innovative.

Etmax
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
Etmax   8/16/2011 2:12:11 AM
NO RATINGS
Interesting you should say that, as the patent requirement is that it should be non-obvious to someone trained in the art, ie. even if innovative it may be obvious, but if it isn't innovative then it is almost certainly is obvious.

Robotics Developer
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
Robotics Developer   8/15/2011 9:02:33 PM
NO RATINGS
This move felt like a IP patent blocking exercise to protect Google from the Novel and Nortel new patent holders. I wonder if there are future plans to expand into the mobile market with a next generation device that is Google centric in terms of on-line web access but focused on the mobile market?

Joseph.Schachner
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
Joseph.Schachner   8/15/2011 9:08:25 PM
NO RATINGS
I hope Google values what I think is Motorola Mobility's most valuable asset, their staff of employees with specialized knowledge and long experience building the radio part of cell phones. I've always used Motorola phones, and in places where my wife's (competitor) phone couldn't connect mine would. Now she has a Motorola phone too. That's important, I hope Google will preserve what they invested in.

Etmax
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
Etmax   8/15/2011 11:54:02 PM
NO RATINGS
Just proves again that parents are evil and stifle rather than foster innovation. If all of these companies spent their money on engineers and development instead of patents and lawyers there would be a lot more VALUABLE people employed and a lot more innovation would be happening. Linux made it from a students desk to something better than virtually all alternatives in such a short time because there were no patents stifling it. Android leapt from that base to 48% market share in only a couple of years. I reckon the antitrust people should look at the Apple/Windows duopoly before ruling against Google's necessary move based on this stupid patent situation.

nosubject
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
nosubject   8/16/2011 6:09:56 PM
NO RATINGS
Reality is dirty. Just accept it, even I fully agree with you and I have several patents.

krisi
User Rank
CEO
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
krisi   8/15/2011 11:54:14 PM
NO RATINGS
Yes, Moto has 3x number of patents compared to Nortel so that patent portfolio is very important. But if this is just about patents should expect a layoff of several thousands of Moto employees, obviously not...getting into the phone business for Google just doesn't feel right, culture clash within Google/Moto combo, competing with Android customers like Samsung, managing complicated hardware supply chains, not pleasant at all...how about keeping the patents and selling the Moto back to whoever wants to manufacture Android phones? I bet within a year we will see just that, mark my words ;-)...Kris

The MicroMan
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
The MicroMan   8/16/2011 3:46:28 PM
NO RATINGS
Ah, duh. Motorola already does all this "complicated h/w, supply chains" etc. It's not like Google has to develop or figure out anything. They bought kit and caboodle. There's nothing wrong with seeding the market with reference designs either (has Intel ever done that?)

JoshGrot
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
JoshGrot   8/16/2011 12:03:09 AM
NO RATINGS
If this is ALL about the patents, then why didn't Google do what they did with IBM and merely buy or cross-license the patents? Certainly the market didn't value the patents as highly as Google must have if this was merely about the patents.

eewiz
User Rank
CEO
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
eewiz   8/16/2011 1:49:37 AM
NO RATINGS
Note that Apple havent sued Google, but only Android phone makers. If Google cross licenses MMI patents, that doesnt necessarily all Android licensees are protected. Of course they can make the licensing terms such that other companies are also covered, but then the price might be almost the same.

Tunrayo
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
Tunrayo   8/16/2011 1:13:52 PM
NO RATINGS
This is why I believe it is not only about patents ... Google needs to create an identity in the smartphone market. Apple has a strong identity, and Android has done superbly well so far. This move can only make Android better.

Etmax
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
Etmax   8/16/2011 2:04:06 PM
NO RATINGS
What has made Android so immensely successful in such a short time is its openness. This is what made the early PC so successful when compared to all of the computers of the time which were all closed. IBM sold more PC's because of the clones than they ever would have sold had they had it closed. that's why All the big names like TI fell by the wayside, because they were closed. You could only buy a printer from TI for TI computer. As a result innovation flourished. The reason why Linux has grown so quickly is because it's open and everyone wants to be part of the freedom that it brings. Compare that to Apple where you have to jump through clunky hoops to print a picture from your phone to a printer and forgot about sending SMS to a group or syncing YOUR calendar to anything other than a MAC desktop. Given the choice of Android were developers don't have their arm twisted behind their back with someone saying no you can't do that we won't let you. It's no wonder Apple and MS are running scared and are trying to strangle this opposition. Google understands this is why Android is so successful, so they won't kill the goose that lays the golden egg. You will see Motorola making phones in an open market and if Google sees that they can't run it successfully they'll spin it off keeping the patents. Still, given Moto makes great phones and the existing management understands how to run it why would you behead it? Again, Google is too smart for that.

krisi
User Rank
CEO
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
krisi   8/16/2011 3:04:12 PM
NO RATINGS
Yes, Moto makes nice phones but they struggled somewhat in market execution. Addition of Google will not help. And competition against other Android phone makers will hurt...Apparently Microsoft wanted to buy Moto. In this light Google acquisition makes perfect defensive sense....Kris

selinz
User Rank
CEO
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
selinz   8/16/2011 3:27:32 PM
NO RATINGS
Well, I think Moto has a couple of the best phones on the market, bar none. My motorola Photon is making longtime Apple fanboys drool with envy. So no question, they have have great phones. But who is going to try to fight them from an IP standpoint with all of Moto's patents! I'm sure it was a financial decision.

LarryM99
User Rank
CEO
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
LarryM99   8/16/2011 5:31:37 PM
NO RATINGS
I second your comment on Moto hardware (I have an original Droid and a Xoom), but I think Google will use the design capability more than the manufacturing arm of Moto. I see them designing and licensing handsets (with patent protection to licensees) rather than competing in the market directly. Larry M.

rick merritt
User Rank
Author
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
rick merritt   8/17/2011 3:29:36 AM
NO RATINGS
I agree with those who say Google might spin Moto off in a year or two after it puts protective cross licenses in place for both companies and key partners. This would make more sense than owning a Moto that it can never get synergies from because it has to treat them as an equal partner to other Android OEMs. Googlre can NOT be another Apple because it cannot let there be close technical ties between Moto hw and Google sw without poisoning the Android ecosystem. And you will never see Moto do its own A4/5/6 like ASIC for Android. So cross license and spin off would seem to be the right strategy.

KB3001
User Rank
CEO
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
KB3001   8/18/2011 2:45:11 AM
NO RATINGS
They better do that quickly then, Microsoft and Apple are not standing still. It would be interesting to observe the reaction of Android OEMs in the coming weeks and months. Whether they received assurances from Google or not, we will know.

kdboyce
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
kdboyce   8/17/2011 6:52:22 AM
NO RATINGS
To continue to grow Android in the marketplace, Google needs the other cellphone makers. One way to appease them would be to offer some protection against suits by Apple in that they now have a sizable patent portfolio to counter attack with. Whether this is the intention or not, I don't know. From a story of Nov. 10, 2004, (http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/regulation/2004/11/10/microsoft-adds-ip-indemnity-to-linux-fight-39173136/) it is stated that "Microsoft will indemnify nearly all its customers against any claims that their use of Microsoft software infringed on any intellectual property claims." The same tactic might be used by Google for all its Android users, and as Rick suggests, get out of the hardware business or sell it to an existing Android HW cell phone maker.

jeremybirch
User Rank
CEO
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
jeremybirch   8/17/2011 1:53:36 PM
NO RATINGS
Perhaps Google will just move the patents and the patent lawyers into a Google division and then sell of all the hardware side as a new company, which has a license to the patents. It can also choose to license some or all of the patents to its Android customers. Notice that all of this is on the size of the patent stack, not on someone having a fundamental patent that prevents anyone else doing anything in the mobile market. Patent licensing deals might as well be done with a ruler and a calculator ie "my stack is two inches deeper than yours so you owe me $20million". Engineers can always find a way around a patent, but that is often a terrible waste of creative effort.

old account Frank Eory
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
old account Frank Eory   8/17/2011 9:49:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Funny, for years I have heard the joke that patent licensing deals are based on the weights of the stack, i.e., "my stack weighs 1247 pounds and yours only weighs 968 pounds, so you owe me $20 million."

Winston2010
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
Winston2010   8/17/2011 2:23:35 PM
NO RATINGS
I suspect that White Space utilization is another goal of their purchase. Both Google and Motorola are heavily involved in that area.

old account Frank Eory
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
old account Frank Eory   8/17/2011 9:51:03 PM
NO RATINGS
Good point! I had completely overlooked the whitespace issue. That could be extremely important.

tb1
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
tb1   8/17/2011 4:39:05 PM
NO RATINGS
Check out this Motorola web page describing their patent portfolio (near the bottom): http://www.motorola.com/Consumers/US-EN/About_Motorola/Technology/Approach Motorola apparently has MPEG patents too, which will probably help in their fight with the MPEG consortium.

kdboyce
User Rank
Rookie
re: Google's Moto bid: It's all about the patents
kdboyce   8/17/2011 11:26:37 PM
NO RATINGS
tb1: Thanks for the link. In more detail, Motorola spells out their patent positions as: "As of January 2011, Motorola will own approximately 24,500 patents and patent applications, worldwide. These include substantially all of the patents unique to Mobile Devices and Home businesses. Our patent portfolio generally relates to wireless, audio, video, security, user interface and product design, along with applications and services related to our products. Our Mobile Devices business segment will have approximately 14,600 granted patents and 6,700 pending patent applications, worldwide. Our patent portfolio includes numerous patents related to various industry standards, including 2G, 3G, 4G, H.264, MPEG-4, 802.11, open mobile alliance (OMA) and near field communications (NFC). The Home business segment will have approximately 1,900 granted patents and 1,300 pending patent applications, worldwide. Further, we believe our portfolio of patents in 4G will position our customers well in the upcoming technology transition from 2G to 3G." What company won't be affected by one or more of these?

Radio
LATEST ARCHIVED BROADCAST
EE Times Senior Technical Editor Martin Rowe will interview EMC engineer Kenneth Wyatt.
Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed
Flash Poll