As interest in defunct kit maker Nortel’s patent portfolio heightens, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) is reported to be taking a close interest in the bidders. Apple is the latest company reported to be interested in making a purchase after Google opened bidding with a $900m offer in April. Now the DoJ is said to be concerned that the patents will be used to stymie competition in the telecoms sector.
Microsoft’s bid for Skype has received the go-ahead from American anti-trust regulators, following an “early termination” of a review into the proposed sale. Under America’s Hart-Scott-Rodinho (HSR) Act, certain types of large mergers and acquisitions deals must be submitted for review by the government.
Microsoft has joined HP, Motorola Mobility and Nokia in a growing line of tech companies opposed to Google’s proposed $900m purchase of Nortel’s patent assets. According to Redmond, a 2006 deal means that Microsoft has a “worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free licence to all of Nortel’s patents” and that this agreement is binding regardless of who buys the intellectual property.
Google has announced the open sourcing of its WebRTC framework for real time browser-based video and audio communications. The technology, which Google acquired when it bought Global IP Solutions last year, has been released under a royalty-free BSD license.
We’ve had Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law, now the technology world is doing its bit for re-jigging Newton’s third law of motion: for every legal action, there is an equal and opposite lawsuit.
Google’s move into the desktop operating system environment was completed Wednesday with the launch of its much anticipated Chromebook device, which is to be manufactured by Acer and Samsung. In a throwback to the days of the dumb terminal, the device is essentially a portal to cloud-based applications and services, all accessed through the Chrome browser.
There can have been little doubt in anyone’s mind that Nokia Siemens Networks’ decision to buy Motorola’s network assets was more about the customer base than the technology itself. Nonetheless, as the deal closed this week, NSN felt bound to remind us all of its motivations. And it showed precious little sensitivity towards any inadequacy that Motorola might be feeling at the passing of its once sizeable infrastructure business.
Business applications provider SAP has warned that Amazon’s recent EC2 cloud service crash will make it more difficult for the industry to convince business to move to the cloud.
US carrier AT&T is to launch an online coupon service to rival Groupon and Facebook’s offerings. The discount site, which will run on the telco’s yellowpages.com subsidiary, launches in June with initial services in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas-Fort Worth. To entice users to sign up, AT&T is offering a $10 credit. More cities are expected to follow after the initial launch, as well as national deals, all of which will be available to mobile device users, according to AT&T.
Google’s bid to buy $900m worth of Nortel patents and patent applications was approved on Monday. The planned sale required the approval of courts overseeing Nortel’s bankruptcy proceedings in Canada and the US. Under the terms of the auction, other parties may submit bids until June 13th, with the auction taking place on June 20th. Nortel filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009.
Google looks to be filling its patents war chest further, if rumours of a bid for bankrupt Israeli device manufacturer Modu are accurate. With the Android platform under increasing threat from patent challenges, Google is reported to have offered $2m for the patent portfolio of the company, which was founded by USB-Flash drive inventor Dov Moran and which made what it claimed to be the world’s lightest modular mobile phone.
Web giant Google turned in a decent set of results for the first quarter of 2011, yet with the company still in growth mode and hiring staff at an incredible rate, there were some concerns over the company’s high spend. Net income for the quarter came in at $2.3bn, compared to $1.95bn last year, against revenues of $8.6bn, up from $6.7bn last year.
Sprint has joined T-Mobile USA and AT&T on the Google carrier billing wagon, offering support for Android users who want to charge app purchases to their monthly bills. In a phased roll-out over the next few days, Sprint users will be offered a drop-down menu when purchasing apps, allowing them to choose between charging their credit card or “Bill my Sprint account.”
Rumours that Google is planning to launch an iTunes rival optimised for Android will no doubt be further fuelled by its acquisition of Canadian start-up PushLife. Founded by former Research in Motion employee, Ray Reddy, in 2008, PushLife offers software that allows users to synch non-Apple devices with the iTunes platform.
Google has responded to reports of growing tension between it and device manufacturers over what many view as Mountain View’s efforts to lock down the Android operating system. With Google requiring that manufacturers gain permission before making alterations or partnerships based on Android, some commentators are claiming that this represents a move towards Apple’s walled garden approach.
Nortel Networks is to continue its post-bankruptcy asset sell-off, announcing the sale of its remaining patent portfolio to Google. The search giant is said to have offered $900m in cash in a “stalking horse” arrangement that could yet see another bidder come in with a higher offer. The patents in question are said to include both granted and pending applications covering wireless, 4G/LTE, data networking, optical, voice, social networking and internet, among others
Google has announced the location in which it will build its ultra high-speed network. Following its request for applications from US cities that wished to be considered to host the project, Kansas City was chosen out of almost 1100 respondents.Making the announcement on its official blog yesterday, Google said that it had signed an agreement with the city and that, pending approval from the city’s Board of Commissioners, “we plan to offer services beginning in 2012.
Google is rumoured to be planning NFC mobile payments trials in New York and San Francisco. Bloomberg has reported that sources familiar with the project say the trials will begin in the next four months and that Google will pay for the installation of “thousands” of custom-built NFC-enabled Verifone terminals at merchants across both cities.
A group calling itself The Android Developers Union has formed to demand changes in the Android Market’s terms and conditions. The so-far anonymous group has issued a list of seven demands which Google can implement “to improve the market,” stating that they are “tired of being treated like sharecroppers on Google’s digital plantation.”
Vodafone, Orange, O2 and T-Mobile have announced their intention to launch NFC mobile payment services in the UK by 2012. Near-field communications (NFC) has been building a head of steam in recent months, with the likes of Google, RIM and Visa announcing their support.