Technology-giants Google and Apple are not planning to merge anytime soon. The two companies are longtime and staunch competitors. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal said that the Department of Justice is looking into both companies. This is not because they are planning to merge, however, but because both companies have each recently bid on patents for sale by Nortel Networks Corporation. Antitrust regulators with the Department of Justice are investigating whether a successful bid by either company would put the company in unfair competition with other companies in the technology market.
According to a piece in the International Business Times by James Lee Phillips, Nortel has been in bankruptcy since 2009. The company boasts holding the patent for Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone invention, but has not been doing well in the last decade following several bad acquisitions in the Internet bubble of the 90s. Three of its executives were also busted by the Securities and Exchange Commission for wrongdoing. The company might not come out of bankruptcy, but instead be liquidated.
Google and Apple are interested in many of the patents held by Nortel. Google has made a bid for several thousand. Nortel holds patents for Internet technology, such as 3G and 4G wireless technology and patents related to data networking.
The Department of Justice is concerned that one of these companies holding all these valuable patents will monopolize the technology market and hurt competition and innovation. According to Phillips, the Department of Justice is particularly looking at Apple because the company has been filing many, possibly excessive, lawsuits against other companies for intellectual property infringement lately.
DOJ Turns Anti-Trust Eye on Apple, Google (International Business Times)