Apple, Microsoft and others join forces to buy Nortel patents

By Tom Warren, on 1st Jul 11 6:57 am with 10 Comments

Apple, Microsoft and a number of other technology companies have agreed to join forces to acquire Nortel patents.

A group of six technology companies, including Apple, Microsoft, RIM and Sony purchased more than 6,000 patents covering a wide range of wireless, networking and Internet technologies. The group paid a combined $4.5 billion to secure Nortel’s patent portfolio following their bankruptcy in 2009. “Following a very robust auction, we are pleased at the outcome of the auction of this extensive patent portfolio”, Nortel Chief Strategy Officer George Riedel said in a statement. “The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world.”

Microsoft had originally expressed concern at a potential sale of Nortel patents to Google. The software giant claimed Google should not be able to purchase thousands of Nortel patents. Microsoft says it has a “worldwide, royalty-free license to all of Nortel’s patents” after securing a deal with the company in 2006. The software maker got its wish as Google was not part of the group of six purchasers. Google originally bid $900 million for the 6,000 patents.

Nortel filed for bankruptcy in January 2009. The Canadian phone-equipment maker agreed to sell the patents to Google for $900 unless a higher bid was accepted. Nortel’s patents include rights to control and license technologies like wireless-video. Nortel also held an auction for 666,624 IPv4 addresses recently. Microsoft submitted the highest bid valued at $7.5 million. The figure works out to $11.25 per IP address.

  • sarkis chamelian
  • Chinonso

    OH MY GOD!!!! Google just got owned in a back-door deal.

  • spragued

    Talk about not being invited to the party…

  • Joe05

    This is a major fumble on Googles part, Google will now find itself beholden to theowners of this patent portfolio, this may mean even more trouble for Android.

  • Renzo

    Is it me or do Microsoft and Apple have a much closer relationship as software partners than they ever used to? I mean one thing is their customers flaming each other on the boards but the companies themselves seem to do a lot of business together as of late and also share a lot of common business interests (patents, HTML5, Office for Mac? lol ;)

    Windows 8 Boot Camp on iPad3 please. kthnx!

    • Anonymous

      The enemy of my enemy is my friend. I think that Apple and MS would prefer that there wasn’t a third big competitor (Google) in the OS space. So MS and Apple would rather go against Google.

  • Guest

    “Microsoft says it has a “worldwide, royalty-free license to all of Nortel’s patents” after securing a deal with the company in 2006.”

    Yeah, but obviously it wasn’t confident those rights were perpetual. Otherwise, why pay for it again? 

    • Anonymous

      Because now they are definitely immune and can collect some money from others that infringe. =)

    • Guest

      Like I said, they must have felt there was some exposure on what they’d already bought. That’s the only thing that makes sense. Because split four ways, the future licensing potential doesn’t seem to justify what’s likely a $1B+ investment from MS.

  • oolong2

    Like vultures on a dead carcass