Make us your home page
Instagram

Google's bid for Motorola Mobility approved by U.S., EU regulators

SAN FRANCISCO — Google's $12.5 billion acquisition of cellphone maker Motorola Mobility has won approval from U.S. and European antitrust regulators, moving Google a major step closer to completing the biggest deal in its 13-year history.

The blessings mean Google just needs to clear a few more regulatory hurdles before it can take control of Motorola Mobility Holdings and expand into manufacturing phones, tablet computers and possibly other consumer devices for the first time.

Motorola Mobility's $12.5 billion price is more than the combined amount that Google has paid for the 185 other acquisitions that it has completed since going public in 2004.

Google is counting on Motorola Mobility's more than 17,000 patents — a crucial weapon in an intellectual arms race with Apple, Microsoft and other rivals to gain more control over smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

The Justice Department ended a six-month review of the deal after concluding it won't stifle competition in the mobile device market. European regulators reached the same conclusion.

In granting its approval, though, the European Union raised concerns about Motorola's aggressive enforcement of its patents. EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said regulators will "keep a close eye on the behavior of all market players in the sector, particularly the increasingly strategic use of patents."

The main concerns are believed to revolve around Google's Android operating system, free software that now powers more than 250 million mobile devices made by a variety of manufacturers, including Motorola Mobility. Competition could be hurt if Google gives Motorola Mobility the most advanced versions of Android or withholds the mobile software from other cellphone makers. Google, though, has pledged to make Android available to all of its mobile partners.

Google still needs government approvals in China, Taiwan and Israel.

Getting China's approval of the Motorola Mobility deal may prove to be the biggest hurdle. Google's relationship with China's ruling party has been on shaky ground since the company blamed hackers in that country for breaking into its computers two years ago. The breach prompted Google to move its Internet search engine from mainland China in protest of laws requiring that some results be censored.

Without setting a specific timetable, Google has expressed confidence it will be able to take over Motorola Mobility early this year.

It already has been six months since Google announced plans to buy Motorola Mobility, which has been struggling as Apple's iPhone and other smartphones made by rivals such as Samsung Electronics overshadowed its line of products.

Google's bid for Motorola Mobility approved by U.S., EU regulators 02/13/12 [Last modified: Monday, February 13, 2012 10:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. At Menorah Manor, planning paid off during Irma

    Nursing Homes

    ST. PETERSBURG — Doris Rosenblatt and her husband, Frank, have lived in Florida all of their lives, so they know about hurricanes.

    Raisa Collins, 9, far left, works on a craft project as Certified Nursing Assistant Shuntal Anthony holds Cassidy Merrill, 1, while pouring glue for Quanniyah Brownlee, 9, right, at Menorah Manor in St. Petersburg on Sept. 15. To help keep its patients safe during Hurricane Irma, Menorah Manor allowed employees to shelter their families and pets at the nursing home and also offered daycare through the week. The facility was able to accommodate and feed everyone who weathered the storm there. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. After Irma, nursing homes scramble to meet a hard deadline

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's nursing homes and assisted-living facilities find themselves in an unfamiliar place this week — pushing back against Gov. Rick Scott's administration over new rules that require them to purchase generator capacity by Nov. 15 to keep their residents safe and comfortable in a power …

    In this Sept. 13 photo, a woman is transported from The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills as patients are evacuated after a loss of air conditioning due to Hurricane Irma in Hollywood. Nine have died and patients had to be moved out of the facility, many of them on stretchers or in wheelchairs. Authorities have launched a criminal investigation to figure out what went wrong and who, if anyone, was to blame. [Amy Beth Bennett | South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP]
  3. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst

    Business

    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  4. Three-hour police standoff ends, thanks to a cigarette

    News

    TAMPA — A man threatening to harm himself was arrested by Tampa police on Tuesday after a three-hour standoff.

  5. Another Hollywood nursing home resident dies. It's the 9th in post-Irma tragedy.

    State Roundup

    The Broward County Medical Examiner's office is investigating another death of a resident of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills — the ninth blamed on the failure of a cooling system that became a stifling deathtrap three days after Irma hit.

    Carlos Canal, pictured at 47 years old, came to Miami from Cuba in 1960. Above is his citizenship photo. [Courtesy of Lily Schwartz]