May 19 AT 12:47 PM Alberto Vildosola 13 Comments

Google gets ready for war, acquires Modu’s patent portfolio

There’s a war underway in the mobile world, and Google is stockpiling ammo as fast as it can. As we saw recently, Google is getting ready to buy Nortel’s patent portfolio. But the web giant is not stopping there, the company just acquired Modu’s phone patents for $4.9 million.

If you’ve never heard of Modu don’t worry, we haven’t either. That’s because is a startup out of Israel that used to build some very small — and very cute — mobile phones. Modu’s 1 phone currently holds the Guinness record for the world’s lightest phone. The company also build “jackets” that you can put on your Modu phones, each different jacket has a certain interface and range of functions. While Modu’s devices are quite innovative and original, the startup is running out of cash. That’s where Google comes in.

Google will surely use these patents to defend itself from the growing number of lawsuits against Android. As the platform keeps growing, it’s starting to draw the wrong kind of attention from companies that make a living off patent lawsuits. Companies like Oracle and Microsoft are trying very hard to get a piece of the Android action. Instead of innovating and building great products, these companies would rather use their army of lawyers to gain any amount of relevancy in the mobile world.

Hopefully, by building its own patent war chest, Google — and therefore Android — will become immune to these ridiculous patent lawsuits.

Via: BGR

Alberto is a college student living somewhere between Miami, Sarasota and the World Wide Web. Although a former iPhone owner, Alberto is now a proud Android enthusiast. You can follow Alberto on Twitter and Google+ for his thoughts unworthy of an article.

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  • http://Oracle... tati

    there is a report that Oracle’s growth strategy is to increase fees on existing customers, and sue those who don’t want their business anymore… let’s see how that works out for them.

  • David Shellabarger

    Why do you think this is a patent buy and not a talent or technology buy?
    The configurable phone idea is really cool, but I don’t think anyone else is doing that.

    I’m not sure what this acquisition has to do with patents.

    • Alberto Vildosola

      They didn’t acquire the company. They just bought the patents

    • Varemenos

      they obviously prepared something and wanted to purchase the patent before they release that ‘something’ and get sued :/

  • http://Website Jason

    I think it’s perhaps a bit fanboyish to declare that Microsoft isn’t “innovating and building great products” in the mobile sector… WinPho7 was the first platform to get Android support, which Android just got last week… the live tiles UI is, love it or hate it, innovative… the XBox Live support is unique…

    Microsoft’s aquisition of Skype will be fueling innovation in the Microsoft ecosystem for the next 2 years…

    Microsoft isn’t being a patent troll, it’s leveraging its patent portfolio to force every handset manufacturer to pay a licensing fee to use Android… because Microsoft can’t compete with a completely free OS that’s actually usable.

    It’s just good business sense to use what you have to lessen the advantage of the competition… and it has nothing to do with lack of innovation in the mobile space.

    • http://Website Jason

      Apparently I can’t type…

      WinPho7 was the first to get *Netflix* support… Stupid typo on my part.

      And for the record, I’m a long-time Windows Mobile supporter who’s now an Android user / developer / hacker and will be for the foreseeable future…

      • http://Website ihatefanboys

        it may just be me, but i chuckled at that last line because it kinda invalidated your whole prior post. Even you found the WinPho interface so bland that you eventually chose android. Microsoft, in my opinion has a very weak mobile infrastructure. They’re gripping at straws, and when you do that, you eventually fail.

        Microsoft should in all reality stick to Windows as a PC platform, and XBOX. Windows is getting challenged and threatened by all new kinds of OS, linux, chrome, etc, with linux creeping up slowly, but still being predicted to catch Windows. They should keep up with making windows better than all that, if thats even possible. XBOX needs to keep on the cutting edge, especially with a new innovative Nintendo system premiering at E3 or whatever that game conference is called next month.

        i feel the same way about Samsung, they should just make TVs, it appears to be the only thing theyre good at, they honestly are hit and miss with mobile, with mostly misses. I know samsung apologists would love us to think its just a handful of devices, but its happening too much for it to be a coincidence, its a pattern now…

        Microsoft, should just make its own tablet PC, its a PC so at least itll be something theyre good at .

        btw never, ever, ever try entenmans coffee, yuck……they make great cake, but horrible coffee, see what i mean ?

        • http://Website -1

          I don’t even know what you post said but it gets a -1 for being way too fucking long

        • http://Website Jason

          Actually, I purchased my first Android phone between the time WM6.5 came out and WP7 was released.

          Further, because I’m not an idot mainstream user, my choice between Android and WP7 had nothing to do with the interface, it had to do with the capabilities… WM6.5 gave me access to the system, Android gives me access to the system… WP7 doesn’t.

          You can make an argument that this OS is *more* innovative than that OS, but at the end of the day… iOS, webOS, WinPho7, and Android are all innovative in some way. Each of them brought something to the table the others didn’t (at least initially), and you wouldn’t be missing out on much by choosing one over the other.

          At the end of the day, AngryBirds is on every platform… so it doesn’t much matter which platform you choose. Hate who you want to hate (For me, that’s Apple), love who you want to love (Microsoft, Google), and ignore who you want to ignore (Notice that I didn’t even mention RIM as having a phone OS in my list above…)

        • http://Website Jason

          Also… my Android is a Samsung Epic and I love it to death.

          • Alberto Vildosola

            Hey Jason, thanks for expressing your opinion in a civil manner and having an honest discussion.

            However, I never said that Microsoft isn’t innovating in the mobile sector anymore. What I said was:

            “Instead of innovating and building great products, these companies would rather use their army of lawyers to gain any amount of relevancy in the mobile world. ”

            Meaning, I’d much rather see Microsoft use its money innovating than hiring lawyers to go after Android and Google.

            The company still makes some amazing things, and the Metro UI is very original, but it could do much more if it focused more on the products and less on suing competitors.

    • http://Website DD

      Actually Jason, the tiles in WP7 is just something Microsoft stole from Sony Ericssons Xperia X1 and changed a little bit so it wasn’t too obvious. Innovative is not a word i would use for that kind of behavior.

      Microsoft specific support for Microsoft specific services like Xbox Live are just proof that their former monopoly abusing self just keeps going. Why no API for others to use?

      As for using a couple of patents to force handset manufacturers to pay double the price for Android than for WP7, is it really ok? The said patents dont even cover a measly % of the product, still Microsoft demands double the price of a WP7 license. The terms are also specifically made to make life very hard for those that do pay. Thats dangerously close to monopoly abuse and extortion. Its one thing to want to get paid for patents, a whole other thing to force people off of a competitors platform.

  • http://Website JJ

    Google has the original Sidekick devs dreaming up skunkwork-type hardware for Android and now Google buys patent portfolio from an innovative phone hardware start-up. This is very interesting.