Last week Google raised eyebrows - and probably some ire, too - when it sold smartphone patents to HTC. The Taiwanese company turned right around and filed additional claims against Apple based on those patents. (At one time it appeared the companies would settle their smartphone IP differences, but maybe not...)
This week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reported Google's acquisition of 1,000+ patentsfrom IBM in August. According to Bloomberg, Google confirmed the transaction without providing details. It's the latest move in Google's quest to better protect itself against lawsuits brought by Apple and other smartphone rivals that don't know how else to combat Android's ever-increasing popularity. The same motive undoubtedly drove Google's decision to acquire Motorola Mobility Holdings.
Assuming antitrust regulators approve the combination, it will indeed give Google more firepower in the smartphone intellectual property war, but getting the green light isn't a foregone conclusion. The merger needs to pass regulatory muster not only in the U.S. and the European Union, but also in Canada, Israel, China, Russia, Taiwan and Turkey, according to PCWorld.com.
The Hill reports the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee has already called Google Chairman Eric Schmidt to testify regarding the company's broader business practices and their effect on the marketplace. It stands to reason that an acquisition of such consequence as this one would be subject to particular scrutiny.