In the current wave of patent wars, Google has become an arms supplier, buying technology from other firms to increase Android’s ability to fight back against Apple. In its latest purchase in the Silicon Valley’s version of an arms bazaar, the Internet giant snapped up 1,023 IBM patents.
After purchasing 1,030 IBM patents in July, the Mountain View, Calif. Android creator in August bought the new technology to combat what Google terms a “hostile, organized campaign” by Apple and others to slow growth of the mobile operating system. HTC, which lost a patent battle against Apple, is the latest beneficiary of Google’s warchest, last month getting nine patents to help its fight against the tech giant, according to Bloomberg.
Although Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility bolsters the Android ecosystem by providing a smartphone maker, the deal is seen as more valuable for the 17,000 patents included. Although billed as an “open-source” software, Android uses closed technology. Toss in the ability of Android partners to edit the code and you have the makings of a serious legal challenge.
Apple has been leading that legal charge, first winning against HTC, then suing Samsung and also filing patent-infringement claims against Motorola Mobility. Observers believe the Cupertino, Calif. iPhone maker could stifle Android by requiring handset makers pay exorbitant licensing fees.