UPDATED 14:47 EST / JULY 11 2011

Apple Officially Wins Nortel Patent. Antitrust Suit from Google to Follow?

2011 seems to be the ‘Year of Acquisitions’ as more and more companies are acquiring startups, bankrupt firms or established players in the industry.  This level of consolidation has spread across industries, leaving companies like Nortel to the wolves. The company sold its wide portfolio of patents to the highest bidder, and created a bit of drama in the mobile sector in the process.

It’s Apple and RIM that come out on top, after the official approval of their bid on Nortel patent.  With Google anxious to build its own patent portfolio in its effort to ward off infringement suits from Microsoft and Oracle, things are not looking very well for the search giant as its rivals were awarded court approval to buy wireless patents from Nortel Networks Corp for $4.5 billion.

The group of six that won the auction, a collection that bid as Rockstar Bidco LP, also included EMC Corp, Ericsson and Sony Corp. The auction was “record breaking in terms of this case and in the patent industry generally,” Lisa Schweitzer of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, which represents Nortel, told a Delaware Bankruptcy Court hearing.

But Google may still come off this as a winner.  The American Antitrust Institute will further investigate the bid by Rockstar Bidco as a conspiracy against Google’s Android mobile operating system.  Google is not taking a backseat regarding this matter.

“This outcome is disappointing for anyone who believes that open innovation benefits users and promotes creativity and competition,” said Kent Walker, Google senior vice president and general counsel in a statement. “We will keep working to reduce the current flood of patent litigation that hurts both innovators and consumers.”

And to prove that Google will not be bullied into surrendering, they are marketing their recently acquired Punchd, which is a great addition especially with today’s mobile shopping in an upswing.  It’s reflective of the ongoing consolidation the mobile market is seeing, especially as Google looks to plant its feet in as many aspects of this economy as possible.

As far as Google is concerned, the battle isn’t over, especially if it feels the consortium has been brought together with the intention of bringing them down.  It just goes to show that Google is one big, tough cookie that any single company isn’t able to gobble down.

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