Google's $12.5bn acquisition of Motorola certainly shows the online software colossus has plenty of cash to burn, what with Android going great guns and all.
But not everyone thinks the deal is a good idea – in fact one analyst has labelled the move an “immense mistake” that could cost Google more than the small mountain of coins changing hands in the transaction.
The story goes that Google's big win in buying Motorola will be the massive library of over 25,000 patents either issued or pending that it will inherit as part of the sale to potentially give it a far stronger hand in the seemingly endless patent squabbles and licensing deals currently dominating the mobile industry.
But David Martin, CEL of patent consulting firm M-Cam, reckons Motorola Mobility says that number is in fact all Motorola has left after selling off the majority of its patents already.
“What they bought is crap, because at the end of the day Motorola sold off its good assets,” Martin said in an interview with Bloomberg. “Back in the early years, Motorola sold off some MPEG patents to GE in a securitisation deal. After that, they took a bunch of the Freescale patents and sold those off.”
Martin suggests that the Freescale patents are the ones that could be of real use to Google, but that “Freescale actually has an Apple link” and that the deal as a result has seen Google “painting a target” on itself for patent infringement suits – exactly the opposite result to what it was hoping for.
To be honest, in the murky world of patents we're in no position to argue, though we'd have thought that if it was as big a mistake as Martin suggests, his wouldn't be the only voice objecting in such strenuous terms.
We'll just have to look back at things a couple of years down the line and see if he was right.