Apple predicted to 'strike back' at Google with its own patent purchase

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Following Google's bid to purchase Motorola Mobility, Apple is predicted to strike a deal -- perhaps with competitors Nokia or RIM -- to consolidate its already significant patent portfolio and better position itself both offensively and defensively.



In a note to investors on Tuesday, Jeffries & Co. analyst Peter Misek concluded that Apple is likely to "strike back" by acquiring patents from rivals such as Nokia or Research in Motion as a response to Google?s purchase of Motorola Mobility. He also mentioned InterDigital, which has been widely viewed as a potential target for acquisition by Apple and other major players in the smartphone industry.



Misek identified what he considers 500 "essential 3G and 4G patents" that are part of Motorola?s significant patent portfolio. Based on the price Google paid for Motorola, he values each of these at $20 million, given the fact that they could be used by Google not only to defend Android against potential attacks from Apple, but also to counterattack the Cupertino-based company and other rivals in the future.



Apple is currently involved in various lawsuits both in the U.S. and internationally with some of its most important competitors in the mobile business. Apple has either sued, been sued, or both, companies like HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Nokia and Kodak over alleged intellectual property infringement. Such patent-based wars are likely to continue even after Google would complete its Motorola acquisition.



Misek analyzed the patent portfolios still in play from Nokia, RIM or InterDigital and concluded that any of them could be an important target for Apple in the future. Apple is currently sitting on impressive cash reserves, totaling $76.2 billion.



The analyst believes that Apple is in a position that would allow it to bid for any of the patents owned by it rivals. He believes Apple will focus specifically on "wireless patents that are truly essential and part of the standards."



Apple may already be paying Nokia "significant royalties for cross-licensing," Misek said, adding that the Finnish handset maker owns "at least 50 essential 4G patents and likely over 100 essential 3G patents" of interest." Another potential target, RIM, is said to have spent over $5 billion in developing its own patent portfolio with InterDigital also on the analyst?s list as a potentially interesting purchase for Apple.







Despite Jeffries? note to investors, there have been no actual indications from Apple that the Cupertino-based company is actually going forward with such patent-buying plans. Google's $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola, announced on Monday, is still pending regulatory approval.



Google's chief executive, Larry Page, candidly admitted that his company's purchase of Motorola was prompted by legal action from competitors -- namely Apple and Microsoft -- against the Android platform. Page said he believes the measures taken by Apple and Microsoft have been "anticompetitive," and ownership of Motorola's patents will better position the search giant to defend its mobile operating system from legal threats.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,720member
    Give me a break. Does anyone seriously feel Apple doesn't already control enough IP to protect themselves from serious damage by other competitors? And they've already shown they have more than enough to wage war against anyone they choose.



    But instead some talking head thinks the proper response is to ratchet things up a couple more notches.

    Idiot.
  • Reply 2 of 57
    I say they should buy RIM, they are a dead brand anyway. Plus they can use that to make a bigger impact in Enterprise. That could cause more companies to switch to Mac.
  • Reply 3 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by crisss1205 View Post


    I say they should buy RIM, they are a dead brand anyway. Plus they can use that to make a bigger impact in Enterprise. That could cause more companies to switch to Mac.



    that would make no sense.



    Apple is not traditionally in enterprise space.



    Furthermore, the iPhone is definitely not 'enterprise-ready' as security standards are not in place within iOS ecosystem.



    Finally, RIM's clients would definitely take issue with that as well.
  • Reply 4 of 57
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by crisss1205 View Post


    I say they should buy RIM, they are a dead brand anyway. Plus they can use that to make a bigger impact in Enterprise. That could cause more companies to switch to Mac.



    I don't know what RiM has to offer Apple moving forward. I can see Nokia as being much more important? which would be funny since MS needs them to try to make WP7 relevant.



    Qualcomm would be killer buy but I doubt that will happen. Since I'm no longer an AAPL stock holder (sold at 400) I do hope they buy something major that drops their stock significantly so I can buy back in.
  • Reply 5 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by droideggs View Post


    that would make no sense.



    Apple is not traditionally in enterprise space.



    Furthermore, the iPhone is definitely not 'enterprise-ready' as security standards are not in place within iOS ecosystem.



    Finally, RIM's clients would definitely take issue with that as well.



    You're right, they do fall behind in enterprise, which would make a purchase of RIM, integrating top-notch user experience in iOS with industry-leading security of RIM possibly the smartest purchase anyone has ever done in the history of business.
  • Reply 6 of 57
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,216member
    . . . to the tune of John Williams' overture from The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Reply 7 of 57
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,129member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by droideggs View Post


    that would make no sense.



    Apple is not traditionally in enterprise space.



    Furthermore, the iPhone is definitely not 'enterprise-ready' as security standards are not in place within iOS ecosystem.



    Finally, RIM's clients would definitely take issue with that as well.



    What security standards would you be speaking of?
  • Reply 8 of 57
    guch20guch20 Posts: 173member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by droideggs View Post


    that would make no sense.



    Apple is not traditionally in enterprise space.



    Furthermore, the iPhone is definitely not 'enterprise-ready' as security standards are not in place within iOS ecosystem.



    Finally, RIM's clients would definitely take issue with that as well.



    Sorry, but RIM's clients? Do they even have any more of those? For how much longer?
  • Reply 9 of 57
    guch20guch20 Posts: 173member
    Yeah, won't happen. I'd stake your life on it.
  • Reply 10 of 57
    The more Apple's cash pile grows the more I can't help feel that Steve has his eye on something really big.



    Of course, he could just like the feeling he gets from the thought of such a huge pile of cash...
  • Reply 11 of 57
    They should buy ARM
  • Reply 12 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


    . . . to the tune of John Williams' overture from The Empire Strikes Back.



    They will join us or die.





    Good. Good.
  • Reply 13 of 57
    galbigalbi Posts: 968member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Give me a break. Does anyone seriously feel Apple doesn't already control enough IP to protect themselves from serious damage by other competitors? And they've already shown they have more than enough to wage war against anyone they choose.



    But instead some talking head thinks the proper response is to ratchet things up a couple more notches.

    Idiot.



    HTC has patents like these:



    Quote:



    The patents at issue cover a range of functionality embodied in Apple's Mac computer and mobile devices that are essential to user experience, including: 1) Wi-Fi capability that allows users to wirelessly network multiple devices at home, at work, or in public, and 2) processor communication technology that enables a seamless integration of a PDA and a cellular phone into a single device providing users with a true smartphone experience. The patents at issue are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,417,944, and 7,672,219 and 7,765,414.



    http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/16/h...#disqus_thread



    That patent is the very basic foundation of what a "smartphone" is.
  • Reply 14 of 57
    straskstrask Posts: 107member
    Tivo seems like a perfect company for Apple to purchase. They have great set-top boxes and the best system of menus of any DVR company. This would be a good counter to the Google TV/Moto Mobility pairing. The phone and tablet conflict should take care of itself. Some manufacturers will turn to Microsoft and Android is still too much of a copy of iOS to survive without serious patent challenge.
  • Reply 15 of 57
    kozchriskozchris Posts: 209member
    I think this would be a great pick up for Apple. Hopefully they can get a couple of other buyers to join in on the purchase.
  • Reply 16 of 57
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,720member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post


    HTC has patents like these:







    http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/16/h...#disqus_thread



    That patent is the very basic foundation of what a "smartphone" is.



    If it's that big an issue, they have the option of license or trade IP, since Apple is also suing HTC. But those on the receiving end of an Apple suit have no such choice unless they have IP that Apple considers valuable. A license is probably out of the question.



    As I said earlier, there's plenty of firepower in Apple's guns already unless their goal is the complete elimination of all competition by employing the courts to do their work.
  • Reply 17 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by strask View Post


    Tivo seems like a perfect company for Apple to purchase. They have great set-top boxes and the best system of menus of any DVR company. This would be a good counter to the Google TV/Moto Mobility pairing. The phone and tablet conflict should take care of itself. Some manufacturers will turn to Microsoft and Android is still too much of a copy of iOS to survive without serious patent challenge.



    the problem isn't that Apple can't develop a nice menu system / UI. Look at AppleTV, it's great. The problem is nobody wants to buy a $300 set-top box when they can get one for free from the cable companies. TiVo shares that problem with Apple, so how would buying TiVo help anything?
  • Reply 18 of 57
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Things are just getting started. Sure, there are feathers flying over communication technology patents right now. But Apple has learned the hard way to protect intellectual property is has acquired or developed on its own. The multi-touch GUI, for example.



    Apple's suits against Samsung et al are just the first baby steps in that defense. And in due time, Apple will need to think about acquiring TV-related patent portfolios as well. That massive North Carolina iCloud data center probably isn't just for streaming your vacation videos and iTunes purchases. And Apple has acquired land across the street from it. To build a second data center just as large.
  • Reply 19 of 57
    patranuspatranus Posts: 366member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post


    HTC has patents like these:







    http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/16/h...#disqus_thread



    That patent is the very basic foundation of what a "smartphone" is.



    Go read the actual patents.
  • Reply 20 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleStud View Post


    the problem isn't that Apple can't develop a nice menu system / UI. Look at AppleTV, it's great. The problem is nobody wants to buy a $300 set-top box when they can get one for free from the cable companies. TiVo shares that problem with Apple, so how would buying TiVo help anything?



    Last time I purchased an AppleTV or three; they were $99 each, not $300.
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