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.