editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Google’s $12.5 Billion Moat Monster

Thomas Jefferson must be rolling in his grave.

Google wants to spend $12.5 billion to acquire the part of Motorola that still makes cell phones, but it’s really Moto’s patents, not its hardware, that is the real attraction. How important are the patents? During the official announcement, Google CEO Larry Page used the words “defend” and protect” several times, but never once mentioned “innovation,” “enabling,” or invention.” In short, Moto’s portfolio of 17,000 patents (with another 7,000 pending) will be used to build a defensive moat around the company.

How broken is that? Patents that don’t enable anything; that merely construct a legal wall to help keep out invaders. Patents as defensive weapons. And freakin’ expensive ones, too. That $12.5 billion is enough money to buy–outright purchase–Xilinx, MIPS Technologies, and Micron–combined. You could buy US Steel four times over with that money.

That’s $12.5 billion that won’t build any factories; won’t hire any employees; won’t purchase any components; won’t fund any R&D; won’t be spent developing new products. It’s more evidence — as if any was needed — that patents have become strategic-defense weaponry, fueling a hyper-expensive arms race among super-wealthy corporations. It’s a far cry from “protecting the lone inventor” that we used to hear.

Google, Microsoft, Apple, and a handful of other companies are spending their way to a technical monopoly. They use their astonishing wealth to lock up inventions and erect expensive legal walls. This has nothng to do with innovation, discovery, or progress. Rest in peace, Mr. Jefferson.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Dec 16, 2018
https://youtu.be/izP9iUskcXQ Made at the Cadence Marketing Holiday Party (camera Sean) Monday: RISC-V: Real Products in Volume Tuesday: IEDM: All About Interconnect Wednesday: The Conway... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community site. ]]...
Dec 13, 2018
In November, we continued our mobile updates to the website, released a couple of new content experiences, and made placing sample requests even easier. Read more below on these and the rest of the major updates to Samtec.com for November 2018. Continued Improvements to our M...
Dec 10, 2018
With Apple'€™s '€œWearable'€ category of sales setting a new record this September with growth over 50%, and FitBit seeing growth in both trackers......
Nov 14, 2018
  People of a certain age, who mindfully lived through the early microcomputer revolution during the first half of the 1970s, know about Bill Godbout. He was that guy who sent out crudely photocopied parts catalogs for all kinds of electronic components, sold from a Quon...