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Apple Microsoft alliance beats Google to Nortel patents

Alex Scroxton

Google's $900m stalking horse bid for the last remaining patent assets of Nortel has been soundly trumped by an unlikely consortium led by Apple and Microsoft.

The alliance, which collectively blew Google out of the water after offering $4.5bn, also included EMC, Ericsson, Research in Motion and Sony.

The portfolio up for grabs included over 6,000 individual patents and patent applications covering nearly every aspect of networking.

In a statement put out by Nortel, chief strategy officer and president of business units George Riedel said the firm was pleased by the outcome.

"The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world," he said.

The scale of the sale is excellent news for Nortel creditors as the firm has at a stroke doubled the amount of money made from its piecemeal sale.

Kasim Alfalahi, chief IP officer at Ericsson, which contributed $340m to the bid, said: "We believe the consortium is in the best position to utilise the patents in a manner that will be favourable to the industry long-term."

RIM is understood to have stumped $770m, but the value of the other members' bids has not been disclosed.

The big loser, however, will be Google. The search giant had been banking on amassing a larger portfolio of intellectual property to fend off the numerous lawsuits that its Android mobile OS attracts.

In an statement Google said the sale was disappointing for anybody who "believes that open innovation benefits users and promotes creativity and competition."

 


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