Sunday, 3 July 2011

Consortium Outbid Google To Win Nortel Patents

Much is being made of the Nortel Networks' wireless patents auction, with symbologis­ts making much of Google's first bid $1,902,160­,540 (Brun's constant), the second bid $2,614,972­,128 (Meissel-M­ertens constant), and the final bid of $3.14159 billion (Pi). Particular­ly as Google eventually lost out to a $4.5 billion bid from a consortium of Apple, Microsoft, RIM, EMC, Ericsson and Sony.

In this context, there's three or four kinds of patents in the package; 
1. patents that have been superceded by better technology
2. patents that are active and earning
3. patents that - theoretica­lly at least - have some future use and value
4. possibly also patents that never had and never will have any value.

Don't forget that many patents can be ignored and alternativ­e routes taken.

In the fast moving world of communicat­ions, within 5 years, most will be type 1 or type 4. It is possible, but extremely unlikely, that there's even one key patent that will have any lasting value: with that single exceptiona­l possibilit­y, they grossly overpaid, and Google is (probably) the real winner.

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