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China approves Google acquisition of Motorola Mobility

Mon, 05/21/2012 - 1:01pm
Andrew Berg, Wireless Week

China yesterday approved Google’s proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. China’s go-ahead was all that was needed for the deal to move forward after antitrust agencies in the United States and Europe issued their statements of approval.

China’s consent came with one hitch: Google must keep Android, its mobile operating system, open and free for use by any OEM for at least five years. At the end of the five years, China will assess the state of the smartphone industry in the country to ensure that Google has not favored Motorola over Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE, which also make handsets based on Android.

In an 8-K form filed with the State of Delaware, Motorola said the deal likely will close Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.

Google has admitted to an eye for Motorola’s extensive patent portfolio, which includes more than 17,000 patents. After losing out on an auction of Nortel's patents, Google had been searching for ways to protect Android.

While China’s approval was good news for Google, Motorola suffered a blow today when the International Trade Commission (ITC) confirmed an earlier ruling that some of the company’s handsets infringe on Microsoft patents relating to scheduling on smart devices. Motorola has said it is looking into the matter.

Also today, the European Commission issued a statement that gives Google a matter of weeks to remedy antitrust concerns around its Internet search business.

Shares of Google were up 1.5 percent, or 8 points, to $609 in early morning trading.

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