Nortel Networks is a Canadian telecommunications company that made one bad business decision too many and went bankrupt. In order to pay off their debts, they’ve been selling off bits and pieces of their company over the past few months. You may or may not have heard the news of Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson picking up Nortel’s CDMA and LTE business. Anyway, one of the last pieces of the company to go is a large portfolio of over 6,000 patents. Google was the first to bid on them, saying they’ll fork over $900 million. A formal auction took place to see if anyone else was interested, and Apple, Ericsson, Microsoft, RIM, Sony and EMC formed their own little street gang (read: consortium) and kicked Google’s brainy little ass by bidding over $4.5 billion on said patents. Why is this important? Because Google doesn’t have any mobile related patents and business partners making Android devices are finding themselves in trouble with the law because they don’t have the proper rights in order to ship smartphones. Google needed these patents, but in the end they just didn’t want to fork over that much money.
So how is this little street gang, correction: consortium, going to divy up their newly purchased treasure chest? According to Robert Cringely, who has “sources”, Apple is going to own everything related to LTE, in addition to another package of patents that gives them ammunition to go against Android. Ericsson and RIM will get a license to access the entire portfolio. EMC gets to own several unspecified patents. And Microsoft and Sony … that remains a mystery. Curiously, Nokia wasn’t a part of the consortium, but that’s because they’ll have access to the patents via their new sugar daddy, Microsoft.
Does any of this matter to you? Not really. It may mean your HTC device will run you an extra $20 when you buy it. That’s it.
[The photo above symbolizes the nameless narrator of the film “Fight Club”, in this case representing Google, crying like a little bitch when embracing the massive wall of a man named Bob, who so conveniently for comedic purposes happens to be sporting a pair of bitch tits.]