Google Moves to Acquire Motorola's 17,000 Patents

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Google is attempting to acquire Motorola Mobility Holdings and — as part of the package — Motorola's 17,000 patents. Google’s CEO, Larry Page, explained the motivations in a blog post about the deal: "Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google's patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies."

Patent economist James Bessen says Google isn't buying these patents because they're looking to make a better mousetrap, but because Apple has even more patents. In other words, the smartphone world is an arms race, and Google and Apple are playing the politics of mutually assured destruction.