It doesn’t take a fool to know that had it not been for the Motorola Droid line Android would not be half as popular as it is today. The company put forth a lot of resources into the Android front and for a few months was nearly the sole reason Android devices sold. Once again Motorola might be Android’s saving grace. Motorola’s CEO, Sanjay Jha, even went as far as saying that shareholder value might benefit from their patents. Looks like Motorola knows something we don’t.
The smartphone news world is becoming polluted with more patent related stories than actual technology advances. Just a few months ago no one seemed to care much about the lawsuits being flung around. For some reason that all changed when Apple sued HTC for the second time. Suddenly Apple is irritating the masses enough that not only are people starting to question whether or not they’re becoming a patent troll, but the Federal Government themselves are starting to look at patent cases in fear of foul play. While all of this hoopla goes on, Motorola seems to be offering their fans some words of comfort. In their recent Q2 earnings call, Sanjay Jha did a bit of boasting toward not only their sales, but their patent portfolio. Motorola has been in the phone industry a long time. Jha reminded everyone of how many patents the company held in 2G/3G technologies, 4G LTE and Wimax innovations, and mobile handset technology in general. But analysts point that this bit of press could mean 3 things from the company that made Droid a household name.
- Motorola could be doing some patent suing/counter suing of their own.
- They could sit on a few patents rather than license them out to the competition.
- The most interesting possibility addressed was that Motorola could sell/share a few key patents with Google.
No matter which of those three Motorola decides to focus on, it definitely seems that Motorola is once again taking Android under its experienced wing. Good news for Android and Google: In terms of patent portfolios, Motorola is one of the best allies you can have. You know how upset Google was to lose out on those Nortel patents? To put it in perspective, Motorola owns nearly 3 times as many mobile patents as Nortel. 17,000 individual patents to be precise. Another interesting piece of info is that many analysts view Motorola’s patent portfolio as possibly the strongest in the mobile field and the company that has the best patent defense against Apple’s war machine. Interestingly, Motorola sued Apple with the power of 18 patents and Apple was only able to respond with 6. The feds may not have to worry about Android’s ability to defend itself against patent suits if Motorola is serious about backing Android.
All of this begs an interesting question: The Android manufacturers are being picked apart by Apple in the courtrooms. You have to wonder that if things look grim they’ll join up together in order to prevent themselves. Everyone knows wars are won based on the allies you have. Could an Android coalition be inevitable? Google, Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and LG might be quite the force to be reckoned with if they lock arms in this patent race.
The patent war has begun.