Does Google's patent grab point to a change in strategy?

Opinion

Does Google's patent grab point to a change in strategy?

Google.jpgGoogle's $900m bid for Nortel's patent portfolio - its last significant asset - represents a major shift in the search and advertising giant's approach to the wider IT market, and in particular the world of networking and mobility.

Of course, under the terms of a stalking horse auction we have to remember it may well not be Google that walks away with the prize; there are other parties in the running and they will now be invited to counter-bid, if they wish.

However, it is still worth pointing out that should Google win the auction, it will have acquired a massive amount of intellectual property relating to wireless, 4G, data networks, optical, voice, internet, service provider and semiconductors.

First and foremost, Google is attempting to amass a patent portfolio of its own so that it can sue rivals who tread on its toes and use the patents as bargaining chips in cross-licensing negotiations.

But some of this property will no doubt be very useful in other ways. Here's a theory...

Up to now, Google has been happily plugging away with its Android platform, and as we know has seen some success here. However It also recently attempted to enter the smartphone market with what was essentially a badge engineered HTC Desire, the ill-fated Nexus One.

Now, with patents relating to areas such as wireless and 4G, not to mention voice and data networks, it doesn't seem particularly far-fetched to suggest that Google may eventually move beyond the OEM model.

This was first published in April 2011

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