December 9, 2012
Unlikely Bedfellows: Google, Apple Join Forces To Acquire Kodak Patents
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
The two companies may be bitter rivals in the courtroom, but reports have surfaced Apple and Google have joined forces in an attempt to acquire Kodak's patent portfolio.
Sources have told Bloomberg Businessweek the Cupertino, California-based Mac, iPad and iPhone developer and the Mountain View, California-based search engine giant are teaming up in order to secure more than $500 million worth of the photography company's patents out of bankruptcy.
Over the summer, Apple and Google headed up two separate groups attempting to secure the 1,100 imaging patents in question, the individuals, who asked not to be identified by Bloomberg due to the private nature of the process, said.
Apple's group contained Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures, Apple Insider's Mikey Campbell reports, and Google's consortium included RPX and "a number of Asian handset manufacturers," possibly including Samsung and HTC.
"Before the imaging patent auction began in August, Kodak estimated the value of its portfolio to fall between $2.2 and $2.6 billion, though the first round of bids were reportedly in the range of $150 million to $250 million," Campbell said. "Under the terms of Kodak's $793 million loan agreement, the winning bid for the portfolio must not be lower than $500 million“¦ In November, sources claimed both Apple and Google remained interested in the patent cache, and Kodak said it was 'confident' that the minimum would be reached."
The two companies have often found themselves on opposite sides of patent-related legal disputes, with Google's Motorola Mobility subsidiary recently "attempting to ban the imports of virtually every Apple product into the US," according to Rip Empson of TechCrunch.
Oddly enough, though, it is those very courtroom battles which have led to the two rivals joining forces in attempt to secure Kodak's portfolio, he said, calling it "smart business for both companies“¦ rather than allowing Kodak to drive up the price up by pitting them against each other, they´re putting on their 'frienemies' hats and making the shrewd choice."
Google and Apple will have four months to produce their combined bid, Empson added.