updated 06:10 pm EDT, Fri April 15, 2011
RIM may outbid Google for Nortel patents
RIM is contemplating outdoing Google's bid on Nortel patents in a move that could shake up the mobile business, according to tips. The sources had RIM considering spending more than Google's $900 million to get control of patents for 4G and wireless video. It was also contemplating the possibility of teaming up with other, unnamed companies if Bloomberg's sources proved true.
None of the companies involved were willing to comment.
If successful, RIM could upturn the market by using the patents against other companies. Companies that use cellphones could face the prospect of either paying RIM a royalty for certain wireless technology or else risk a lawsuit. Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has described the 4G patents, for LTE, as a "national treasure" that he wouldn't want to leave Canada.
Google had made its bid as a stalking horse bid, or one intended to force a minimum price on the auction to discourage bids from companies with dubious motives. Patent troll firms only interested in lawsuits were a major concern, but it's also believed the bid would discourage Microsoft, Nokia, and other majors who might be tempted to get the patents at a low price and use them to slow down competitors like Apple or Motorola through lawsuits.
Nortel went bankrupt in 2009 after it couldn't survive the world economic collapse. Its patent sale was intended to help raise capital and pay off creditors to the point where it could exit bankruptcy.