Regulators in the European Commission will give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility sometime in January 2012.
Google must get the approval of both U.S. and EU officials before the acquisition can be completed. Since the deal would put the search giant into a particularly close relationship with an Android manufacturer — one of many such OEMs — anti-trust concerns hang in the balance.
EU officials have set a provisional deadline of January 10 for their decision.
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Already, Motorola Mobility shareholders have voted to go through with the deal. Around 99 percent of share holders sided in favor of the acquisition in a recent special meeting.
Google first announced it intended to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion back in August 2011. The deal was brokered largely to secure the Android operating system and ecosystem of manufacturers against patent lawsuits.
When the Android patent suits began, Google held fewer than 1,000 patents. Some of the companies suing Google and its partners held in the range of 20,000 to 40,000 patents. Motorola Mobility currently holds around 17,000 patents, with an additional 7,500 patents pending approval. Many of these patents deal with very early cell phone technologies, making Motorola Mobility the perfect pairing for Google’s Android — at least from a patent law perspective.
While some (VentureBeat staffers included) have doubted whether Google can be fair to other equipment manufacturers while maintaining ownership of Motorola, Google says the survival of Android depends on that kind of fairness.
As a result, the company doesn’t think that anti-trust behaviors will be part of its reality.
The U.S. Department of Justice is still evaluating the deal.
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