Both the European Commission and the Department of Justice in the United States have cleared a deal that will see Google and Motorola finally tie the knot, after the US$12.5 billion deal was announced last August.
In Europe, the European Commission approved the deal with no conditions after evaluating that the deal will not “significantly impede effective competition” in the Eurozone. . However, it will continue to monitor the situation because of the highly competitive nature of the mobile industry.
“We have approved the acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google because, upon careful examination, this transaction does not itself raise competition issues,” Joaquin Almunia, Commission Vice President of Competition Policy for the European Commission, said in a statement.
“Of course, the Commission will continue to keep a close eye on the behaviour of all market players in the sector, particularly the increasingly strategic use of patents.”
The deal was approved in the US with the closing of another investigation into Apple and Microsoft having ownership of Nortel’s patents – which is rumoured to be the cause of why Google decided to by Motorola in the first place. The DoJ said in its investigation that, essentially, Microsoft has little market share to use these patents as weapons against Google:
With respect to RIM’s and Microsoft’s acquisition of Nortel patents, their low market shares in mobile platforms would likely make a strategy to harm rivals either through injunctions or supracompetitive royalties based on the acquired Nortel SEPs unprofitable. Because of their low market shares, they are unlikely to attract a sufficient number of new customers to their mobile platforms to compensate for the lost patent royalty revenues. Moreover, Microsoft has cross-license agreements in place with the majority of its Android-based OEM competitors, making such a strategy even less plausible for it.
It also has come out and said that all patent owners must play fair with each other, giving fair or equal terms to each other to use another’s patents.
Apparently, according to Android Central, the last country to approve is China – but again, if Europe and the United States say yes, then China’s approval looks set.