The EU Competition Commission yesterday gave Google’s takeover of Motorola ‘unconditional approval’ to proceed but the company is still waiting for a number of other countries to provide approval.
The planned $12.5bn Google-Motorola (or Googarola as it is known) deal was announced in August last year but has been undergone worldwide scrutiny from regulatory bodies to ensure it won’t contravene competition rules.
“We have approved the acquisition because upon careful examination, this transaction does not itself raise competition issues,” said Joaquin Almunia, EU Competition Commissioner, in a statement. However, upon approving the transaction, the EU body says it will maintain monitoring of Google to ensure it doesn’t abuse the Motorola patents it will be acquiring in the deal.
“This merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices. This is our worry,” Alumnia told the press.
“We might be obliged to open some cases in the future. This is not enough to block the merger but we will be vigilant.”
According to techradar.com, part of the reason for Google’s interest in Motorola – which it intends to run as a separate company – is to protect its Android ecosystem from patent infringement lawsuits.
The deal now needs approval from the China, The United States, Taiwan and Israel before it can be rubber stamped. China is expected to decide by March 20 whether to approve the deal or start a third phase of review, according to a source close to the situation. The U.S. Justice Department is expected to approve the acquisition this week, Reuters reported.