updated 01:40 pm EST, Mon February 13, 2012
EU gives full approval to Google-Motorola
As anticipated, the European Commission on Monday approved Google's $12.5 billion buyout of Motorola. The approval was without conditions after the EU body decided that it wouldn't hurt smartphone competition or patent issues. Commissioner Joaquin Almunia was aware there was a chance Google might abuse patents to shelter Android, but he promised legal action if that was the case.
The search giant had promised it would fairly license patents to others, although the Commission has said this wasn't a crucial factor. Questions have been raised over the sincerity of the claim given that Google would perpetuate Motorola's attempt at getting 2.25 percent of a total iOS device price as a royalty, a rate which many consider abuse of standards-based patents.
Google can't formally close the deal until Chinese, Israel, Taiwanese, and US officials approve the takeover. Leaks from inside the US Department of Justice have suggested an American approval is likely.
If approved, the merger would theoretically give all Android manufacturers about 17,000 extra patents to defend themselves through Google's help. Despite promising to treat other Android supporters fairly, though, it has produced more and more signs that it's devoting attention to Motorola hardware that could see it inherently preferred over what HTC, Samsung, and others can offer.