It has been 16 months since Google's public breakdown after losing the Nortel patent auction to the RockStar Consortium. RockStar, if you remember, was the group formed by Apple, Microsoft and others to jointly bid on, and subsequently win, the auction. The breakdown came when Google realized they had been invited to join, but refused the offer, leading to their ultimate loss.
Well, the main players in the Consortium are back together and once again invited Google to join, this time to purchase Kodak's patents. Google, having learned their lesson previously, seems to have agreed and the three largest players in the tech industry will be bidding together to take ownership of Kodak's patent portfolio.
No, this joining did not quite work out as pleasantly as it would seem. In reality, Google did try and bid against Apple and Microsoft originally, with the backing of a patent firm and several Asian smartphone manufacturers. Unfortunately for Google, Apple and Microsoft also had an investment company with them: Intellectual Ventures, and the opening bids were pretty close. Finally, Google's group decided there was no winning against MicroApple and and the two groups merged.
While Apple's patent suit against Kodak has not made negotiations less tense, Kodak knows there is probably no interested group on the planet with as much money to throw at this purchase than this one. Also, no one has more at stake in this auction than Apple, Google and Microsoft, who produce the three remaining viable smartphone platforms in the world.
As far as I'm concerned, these three coming together on the patents means there will be no future war between them on the usage of the patents. All three can use their ownership percentage to shield their manufacturers from outsiders and everyone can continue to include ever-improving camera technology on their devices. It is a win for consumers, a win for the consortium and a win for the manufacturers. Maybe these three should work together to promote innovation instead of legal action more often.read more...