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Google approved to buy Motorola Mobility by European regulators

February 13, 2012|By Jessica Guynn
  • Google gets approval from European regulators to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.
Google gets approval from European regulators to buy Motorola Mobility… (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg )

European regulators cleared the way for Google to buy Motorola Mobility, but warned the Internet search giant that it would monitor the $12.5-billion acquisition for antitrust violations.

Google, which said it intended to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in August, still needs government approval in the U.S. China, Taiwan and Israel. 

Google called the decision an "important milestone."

The U.S. Department of Justice, which is reviewing the acquisition, is expected to approve the deal soon.

Google is looking to Motorola’s more than 17,000 patents to help shield it in the escalating patent battles surrounding its Android operating system. Google has pledged to license Motorola patents if the deal is approved.

There is growing concern in Washington and Brussels that patent holders are increasingly using their portfolios as bludgeons to stop other companies from using smartphone technology.

Joaquín Almunia, the commission vice president in charge of competition policy who approved the Google deal, said in a written statement: "We have approved the acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google because, upon careful examination, this transaction does not itself raise competition issues. Of course, 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." 

The acquisition marks Google’s first push into hardware. Google could use the acquisition to manufacture its own devices including a home entertainment device.

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