Many of Google’s rival companies want Android decapitated, its limbs severed, its shiny green cylindrical body fed to the shredding and compacting machine, and its antennas chopped and sauteed in used motor oil. As violent as that may sound, that’s the figurative picture portraying the kind of animosity that Google’s Android platform has stirred among rival companies that it has “offended.”
With Google having lost its bid for Nortel’s delicious 6,000-strong patent portfolio recently, many feared that Google and Android have also consequently lost a big protective cover that could potentially shield Android’s green hindside from turning red with legal spanking from competitors.
Nortel’s portfolio, it seems, is just a small slice of the pie of acquirable patents, which is probably why Google’s stalking-horse bid for it was just US$900 million and which is probably why Google (with Intel) stopped bidding further when the bid price reached US$4 billion. Though, it seems that Google will be taking the patents race more seriously this time, if not to defend itself against litigation and patent trolling, then to “maintain [its] freedom to develop new products and services.”
Google reportedly has a total of 701 patents in its arsenal. Compare that to, say, the 3,121 patents granted to Microsoft last year, and you get the clear idea that not only has Google been lackadaisical about the patents game but is also vulnerable because of it.
That is probably the exact reason why Google is building its six-person band of patent warriors. Google currently wants the following patent-related job positions filled as soon as possible:
By the looks of it, Google is warming up fast to the patents acquisition game. And, we can expect the search titan to start amassing patents left, right, center, up, down, front, and back. As ICAP Patent Brokerage CEO Dean Becker notes, “There are a lot of phenomenal portfolios for sale. Assuming they [Google] were willing to spend at least the $900 million of their initial offer to achieve the result they were after, they’re going to get there.”
Android has to toughen its hide in order to prevent the pebbles, rocks, and boulders thrown at it from denting its shiny green coat. One way to do that is to strengthen the competitiveness of its products and services in the marketplace–something that Google has already done exceptionally well with Android and that has scared the daylights out of its competitors (foremost among them, Apple). The other way is through patents acquisition.
Would all these turn Google into the ferocious monster that many have been fearing it might become?