This might not be a direct music industry story, but it’s very relevant. Google announced yesterday that it is planning to buy mobile handset maker Motorola for $12.5 billion. Why? Patents. Specifically the more than 17,000 mobile patents held by Motorola, which will help Google defend Android (including other handset manufacturers) from lawsuits from Apple and Microsoft. However, the deal can also be seen as Google taking a leaf out of Apple’s book and realising that it needs hardware AND software under one roof to step up its battle with the iPhone. “Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers everywhere,” writes CEO Larry Page in a blog post. Google plans to run Motorola as a standalone division. Two possible implications for the music industry: first, buying a company with 19,000 staff (Google only has 25,000) could be a big upheaval, and one that may attract corporate focus and energy away from its dealings with the creative industries. Second, it remains to be seen what other companies in the space will do next. Microsoft may opt to buy Nokia outright, for example, while Android stalwarts Samsung and HTC are likely to be mulling their options. Source: Google Source: TechCrunch

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