Smart tactics in the smartphone war?


Google bought Motorola in 2012 and paid an astounding $12.5 billion. At the time of sale, Motorola had $3 billion of cash on its balance sheet – so in reality, Google only(!) paid $9.5 billion for the company.

At the end of 2012, Google sold Motorola’s cable TV set-top box business for $2.35 billion. And yesterday it was announced that the Lenovo Group agreed to buy the Motorola handset division for $2.91 billion from Google – and only a few (well, about 2000 it appears!) of the Motorola patents are to be transferred to Lenovo as part of this deal, leaving Google with around 15,000 of the Motorola patents.

This means using-back-of-the-envelope-type-maths, Google has paid $4.24 billion for sole ownership of a standard essential patent portfolio containing around 15,000 UMTS and LTE patents. Put in context, the Rockstar consortium paid $4.5 billion in 2011 for shared-ownership between 5 different companies for just 6,000 LTE and UMTS patents.

That’s a pretty smart move from Google.

Kate Shires