As Icahn said at the time, with 17,000 approved patents and another 7,500 in the pipeline, Motorola Mobility "has one of the strongest and most respected patent portfolios in the industry." Sure, Google can build its own Android phones now, but so what? The real value here for Google is in those patents.
Sure, there are other reasons besides patents for Google to make this deal, but I don't they amount to a hill of beans compared to Google's need to put an end to the IP lawsuit siege on Android. Google, since it hasn't had a significant patent portfolio, to counterattack its IP enemies has been largely helpless against its opponents.
You see software patents are merely ammunition in business wars. In 2011, patent lawsuits are largely used to extort money and kill off innovation and competition. As Stephan Brunner, a programmer told NPR recently, I have to say that every single patent is nothing but crap."
In a more business-like fashion, Chris Sacca, the venture capitalist, said to NPR that "We're at a point in the state of intellectual property where existing patents probably cover every behavior that's happening on the Internet or our mobile phones today, The average Silicon Valley start-up or even medium sized company, no matter how truly innovative they are, I have no doubt that aspects of what they're doing violate patents right now. And that's what's fundamentally broken about this system right now."
Exactly so. Every IP lawyer I've spoken with, and I know dozens, agrees that the patent system is fundamentally broken.
Since that's the case, Google had to load its guns. As Kevin Burden, vice president of mobile networks, for the research house ABI Research, put it "All its [Google Android] licensees are now feeling their legal positions have just been reloaded."
Thus, Google will be able to use the patents, which includes database patents, it recently bought from IBM against Oracle and the Motorola Mobility patents against Apple, Microsoft, and other mobile patent enemies. The goal of all this? Google will get the best result anyone can get from a patent war: A draw with it competitors that will force Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle to compete in the marketplace with quality products instead of in the courtroom with lousy software patents.