Group Led By Microsoft And Apple Buy Nortel Patents For 4.5 Billion

Former telecom equipment giant Nortel has sold its wireless patents to a consortium led by Apple and Microsoft for $4.5 billion.

Google was left out by the consortium after having offered $900 million for patent portfolio in the initial stages.

The Nortel patent portfolio contains more than 6,000 patent and patent applications covering important 4G and wireless broadband technology.

The patents, 2,600 of which are US patents, were purchased by the consortium made up of Apple, Microsoft, RIM, EMC, Ericsson and Sony. BlackBerry maker RIM said that it had put up $770 million for the purchase while Ericsson had contributed $340 million.

"Following a very robust auction, we are pleased at the outcome of the auction of this extensive patent portfolio," said George Riedel, chief strategy officer and president of business units at Nortel.

"The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world," he added.

The portfolio will provide a strong defensive cover from litigation for the companies that have acquired it. Google’s inability to acquire the portfolio means that it is somewhat exposed, as it leaves Android vulnerable to legal assaults.