U.S. Justice Department set to approve Google-Motorola deal as early as next week

It seems like ages ago when Google announced it was buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. It was actually about 6 months ago, and at that time we figured it was going to be a battle with the U.S. Justice Department as well as the European Commission. The Wall Street Journal is reporting the U.S. Justice Department will clear the deal as early as next week, according to people familiar with the matter. The European Commission will also decide next week on whether to approval the deal as they’ve set Monday, February 13 as a deadline.

Even if both clear the way, it won’t be smooth sailing as both departments are concerned with Google’s commitment to license Motorola patents to competitors under FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non nondiscriminatory) rules. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have read all about the various lawsuits between Apple, Samsung, Motorola, HTC, Microsoft, and others. The concern is that many of these suits involve patents that are essential to making smartphones, like 3G and WiFi. Some of these patents have become industry standards and companies who own those patents need to agree to issue licenses under FRAND.

Google did promise organizations that it would offer licenses for FRAND patents in Motorola’s portfolio, but didn’t rule out seeking injunctions against those that refuse to license those FRAND patents. On the other hand, Apple and Microsoft also said they would offer licenses, but wouldn’t seek injunctions from those they feel violated those industry standard patents.

I certainly don’t see any of these legal battle slowing down, but I’m excited to see what Google and Motorola are going to do together. Motorola has been behind the shadows of Samsung, but they make the best hardware hands down. Motorola may or may not make the next Nexus device, but I believe we should see some interesting things out of Motorola by the end of the year, assuming this deal is finalized.

source: wall street journal