Justice Dept. 'set to clear' Google, Motorola merger

The Justice Dept. is expected to approve Google's proposed acquisition of smartphone market Motorola Mobility. But European authorities must approve the deal, too.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Cast your mind back to last year. You can be forgiven if you forgot that Google set out to acquire the smartphone maker Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, because since then there have been a tonne of hurdles to overcome.

One of those major barriers may soon be lifted, as the U.S. Department for Justice is reportedly poised to clear the merger, making way for an Android ecosystem and a hefty patent package for Google.

The Wall Street Journalunderstands this is the case, and while it proves helpful to the proposed acquisition, European antitrust authorities must also clear the deal for it to really matter.


According to sister site CNET, Google sent a letter to standards bodies setting out promises it will give for the licensing of "essential" patents it will receive in the Motorola merger. It's certainly a nicer picture than attempting to slam its competitors into a fiery abyss of patent suits. "Do no evil," apparently.

But antitrust authorities are still concerned over the vast amount of patents --- thought to be in the region of 17,000 --- and how these will be fairly licensed to rivals and partners alike.

"Antitrust enforcers in the U.S. and Europe remain concerned about Google’s commitment to license Motorola patents to competitors on fair terms, those people said, and will closely monitor Google’s use of the patents," the WSJ reports.

In the meantime, European regulators have set themselves the deadline of this coming Monday to finalise a decision. In between somewhat expected hiccups, after the European Commission halted its review until Google handed over more paperwork, it continued its review after it received what it needed.

Knowing how Europe works, it's likely that the deal will be approved by the Commission, but perhaps with reassurances set out. It is not uncommon for U.S. and European regulators to talk to each other, and often one decision follows another in suit in tandem or shortly after.

It is likely the Justice Dept. will confirm the news on Monday at the very earliest.


Image source: CNET/CBS News.

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