The U.S. and European regulators have approved Google’s USD 12.5 billion acquisition of cell-phone maker Motorola Mobility Inc, a move that will boost the technology giant’s efforts to strengthen its position in the mobile market.
However, the regulators would continue to keep a close eye on Google and other rivals’ use of patents to ensure that the transaction complies with the anti-trust rules.
“We have approved the acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google because, upon careful examination, this transaction does not itself raise competition issues,” the EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement
He further said that the commission “will continue to keep a close eye on the behaviour of all market players in the sector, particularly the increasingly strategic use of patents.”
Separately, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement that “the specific transactions at issue are not likely to significantly change existing market dynamics.”
It further said that the Department would continue to monitor the use of standard-essential patents (SEP) in the wireless device industry and “will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action to stop any anticompetitive use of SEP rights”.
Google still requires approvals from many countries such as China, Taiwan and Israel.
Google had announced in August last year that it would buy Motorola Mobility, maker of smart phones and computer tablets and the holder of a portfolio of about 17,000 issued patents and 6,800 applications, for USD 12.5 billion - making it the biggest ever takeover by the internet giant so far.
The deal will boost Google’s competitive edge in the mobile computing arena as well as give it access to Motorola’s range of Android operating system-based offerings.
Both Google and Motorola have a good presence in India.
Commenting on the approval, Google said, “We are happy that the EU approved our proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which we announced in August. This is an important milestone in the approval process and it moves us closer to closing the deal. We are now just waiting for decisions from a few other jurisdictions before we can close this transaction.”
Google further said that is combination with Motorola Mobility “will help supercharge Android. It will also enhance competition and offer consumers faster innovation, greater choice and wonderful user experiences.”
Google had sought approval for the deal in November, but the review process went longer because the European regulators asked for more documentation in the case.
Google is also under investigation by European regulators looking at whether the search giant is abusing its dominant position in online search and advertising.
The Justice Department also announced that it was closing some other investigations such as the purchase by Apple, Microsoft and Research in Motion of certain patents from the bankrupt Nortel Networks; and Apple’s purchase of certain Novell patents.