US ANTI-TRUST REGULATORS have approved Apple's request to bid on Nortel's extensive patent collection.
The Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice said it has given Apple the green light to pursue a patent bid, but that the situation will be closely monitored to ensure that there is no negative impact on competition from any deal, according to Bloomberg.
Nortel was going to sell roughly 6,000 patents to Google for $900m, but it welcomed rival bids for a 27 June auction, which Apple is keen to get in on. As part of the stipulations for the auction, a rival had to outbid Google by at least $29m by 13 June, which appears to have happened.
It's not clear who that bidder is, as Apple would not have been able to bid at that time, but it could mean that there will be many companies fighting for the treasure trove of patents that Nortel possesses.
These companies might include other smartphone rivals like Microsoft and Research In Motion (RIM), the latter of which is rumoured to be strongly considering a bid.
Another potential bidder is RPX, a company that buys patents for defensive purposes to ward off potential litigation. It licences the patents to its clients, which include Acer, Dell, HP, IBM, Nokia, Microsoft, Panasonic, RIM, Sony and several other big name technology firms. Noticeably missing from the list are Google and Apple.
We won't know any details about the bidders and how much they bid until after Nortel accepts a winner, as the company has vowed to keep the information secret for now.
Nortel, which went backrupt in 2009, has been broken down for parts, with its optical networking business going to Ciena in 2010 for $733.8m, its enterprise division going to Avaya in 2009 for $475m, its Ipv4 addresses going to Microsoft this year for $7.4m, and its wireless equipment business going to Ericsson in 2008 for $1.13bn. The latter business also went up for auction with six rounds of bidding between major networking players, including Nokia Siemens Networks, before Ericsson secured the deal.
With a large number of patents relating to technology that can be used in smartphones at stake, such as wireless video, it's understandable why Apple wants to get in on the game. It's also likely that Google won't go down without a fight, as Nortel's patent library is far too extensive to pass on. We are likely to see the final price easily top $1bn, after the technology giants battle it out when bidding begins next week. µ
So that's why she's smiling…
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Alexa, is this exploitation?