Well, it wasn't too difficult to see this one coming. A year ago, all that was left of Nortel was a giant patent portfolio
that everyone knew would result in a bidding war. At the time, people predicted the portfolio was worth an astounding $1.1 billion. Back in April, Google made news by placing a $900 million "stalking horse"
bid for the patents, which had many people shaking their heads at the size of the bid. Google had made it pretty clear that it was seeking to buy the patents to keep them from being used by others to sue and block Google. Of course, Microsoft whined
and complained to the government about how unfair it would be if Google won the patents. The government was apparently unconcerned.
So, Microsoft apparently got together with Apple, EMC, Ericsson, RIM and Sony... and coughed up an insane $4.5 billion
. It's kind of brilliant in a nefarious way. With six companies together, they could each spend less than the $900 million initially pitched by Google... and then just all agree not to sue each other, but leave open the option to sue anyone else. And, given just how aggressive these companies have been with patents lately, you can rest assured that "license" demands will be made and there will almost certainly be lawsuits. Progress via the courtroom, apparently.