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EC and US approve Google’s buyout of Motorola Mobility

Will not affect patents
Tue Feb 14 2012, 09:58

REGULATORS have approved Google's buyout of Motorola Mobility.

Both the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the European Commission (EC) announced their approval of the $12.5bn deal yesterday, and both regulators said they believe it's not anticompetitve.

"After a thorough review of the proposed transactions, the Antitrust Division has determined that each acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition and has closed these three investigations," said the FTC in its statement.

"The division concluded that the specific transactions at issue are not likely to significantly change existing market dynamics."

In a statement the EC said it approved the buyout because it did not think the deal will have a significant impact on the mobile market, its operating systems or patents.

"We have approved the acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google because, upon careful examination, this transaction does not itself raise competition issues," said Joaquín Almunia, commission vice president in charge of competition policy.

"Of course, the Commission will continue to keep a close eye on the behaviour of all market players in the sector, particularly the increasingly strategic use of patents."

The EC said that it considered whether the deal will lock firms other than Motorola Mobility out of its Android operating system, but thought this unlikely since Motorola is not a dominant player in the market.

It added that although Google is getting a shedload of patents it is unlikely that this will give it an anti-competitive edge.

Recently Google has reassured the EC that it will offer patents fairly on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

"Since we announced our agreement to acquire Motorola Mobility last August, we've heard questions about whether Motorola Mobility's standard-essential patents will continue to be licensed on FRAND terms once we've closed this transaction," said Google spokesperson Niki Fenwick earlier this month.

"The answer is simple: They will." µ


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