Google, creators of the Android smartphone operating system, are under fire from a shedload of prospective lawsuits concerning a raft of patents owned by their competitors which they have potentially breached.
The legal woes stem from a portfolio of over 6,000 technology patents which was recently placed up for auction by the bankrupt Canadian firm Nortel Networks. Rockstar Bidco, the consortium which made the winning bid, was comprised of Apple, Microsoft, Research in Motion, Sony and Ericsson, plus EMC, a data storage firm. In other words, almost every major smartphone operator bar Google.
The portfolio was the largest ever to have gone up for auction fetching a staggering price of $4.5bn (£2.82bn), the highest figure ever for such a sale. With a vast range of patents spanning wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider and semiconductors amongst others, those not on team Android now have plenty of material to hold against their booming rival.
It could be months before the full implications of this auction are revealed. The US Justice department, which is in charge of deterring competition abuses, is thought to be investigating the deal, but if the sale goes through it could represent a real threat to Android’s market dominance since smartphone producers may have to pay a fee to install the software on their handsets.
For how this story plays out and the rest of your Android news needs, stay tuned to Life Of Android.