US and EU antitrust regulators have approved Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of cellphone maker Motorola Mobility, bringing Google a step closer to sealing the biggest deal in its 13-year history and paving the way for the technology giant to compete directly with archrival Apple.
Google announced in August that it would buy Motorola Mobility for its 17,000 patents and 7,500 patent applications. Now only regulatory hurdles in China, Taiwan and Israel remain to be cleared before the California-based multinational can take control of Motorola Mobility and begin manufacturing phones, tablet computers and other devices, according to the Associated Press.
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Google’s Android software is the operating system in four out of 10 new Internet-enabled smartphones, according to The New York Times. The dominant single company in the industry, however, is Apple with its iPhone.
After Motorola split in two last year, Google put in a bid for the section that manufactures phones and tablet computers. The European Commission ruled on Monday that the purchase would not raise competition issues in the market for operating systems for cellphones, tablet computers and other devices, the BBC reported, with US regulators indicating their agreement hours later.
However, both EU and US antitrust enforcers cautioned that they would monitor the impact of the deal to ensure that patents crucial to the telecommunications industry would be licensed at fair prices, Reuters reported.
“This merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices. This is our worry,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said yesterday in Brussels.
A statement released by the US Justice Department also stressed that “how Google may exercise its patents in the future remains a significant concern.”
In a blog post yesterday, Google’s Vice President Don Harrison said that European approval represented “an important milestone,” and added that “the combination of Google and Motorola Mobility will help supercharge Android” and “enhance competition and offer consumers faster innovation, greater choice and wonderful user experiences.”
Google shares rose 1 percent in yesterday’s regular trading session, closing at $612.20.
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