Enterprise Mobility: Apple, RIM, Cisco, Samsung, HTC Could Fight Google for Nortel Patents
Patent-poor Google has every right and cause to bid for Nortel's 6,000 enterprise networking, wireless, VOIP patent and patent applications. The search engine April 4 offered $900 million for the rights to the technology, an overture Nortel accepted as it seeks its way out of the financial quagmire of bankruptcy. Google doesn't make hardware and analysts told eWEEK Research In Motion, Apple, Nokia and others might make better use of Nortel's patent technology, which is used in RIM BlackBerrys and Apple's iPhone. However, Google does make the Android operating system used in smartphones made by Samsung, Motorola, HTC and others. The kicker is that Google's deal with Nortel is a stalking horse sale that could bring out other bidders to challenge Google for the patents. BusinessWeek.com reports that patent purchaser RPX is mulling its own bid for the assets, which would likely push the patent price to more than $1 billion. Peter Holden, a partner at Coller Capital, which reviewed Nortel'S portfolio, told the publication "whoever buys this has a very big nuclear weapon." In any event, bidders who want to participate in the Nortel patent auction June 20 must notify the company by June 13. If RXP secured the Nortel portfolio, we believe this would be a waste of fine technology that could be used to spice up competition in the mobile broadband market. This eWEEK slide show presents a list of possible rivals to Google's stalking horse bid for the Nortel patents.
Research In Motion
On top of our list is Research In Motion, whose co-CEO Mike Lazaridis once called Nortel's patent war chest a "national treasure." RIM, which has been hemorrhaging smartphone market share to Google's Android platform and Apple's iPhone, is reportedly weighing whether to outbid Google for the Nortel patents.