After Google first made a “stalking horse” bid on Nortel‘s patent portfolio in April, many assumed that they would bid aggressively and win the majority of the patents and use them as a bartering tool for Android in its various patent disputes. However, much to most people’s surprise when an unknown consortium called Rockstar Bidco LP had won the auction with an offer of $4.5 Billion for the portfolio.
That is a lot of money for an unknown company with no details on its ownership available, but apparently the Department of Justice had given Rockstar Bidco clearance to bid on the patent portfolio without disclosing the companies that were behind the consortium. Now, however, it has become apparent that the consortium included Apple, RIM, Microsoft, EMC, Ericsson, and Sony who appear to have bid on the portfolio with the express mission of taking it out of Google’s hands (or the hands of Ranger Inc – the Google subsidiary that actually made the bid).
It is currently unclear whether the consortium has access to the entire patent portfolio or the patents will be divided up between them, but either way this is a major blow to Google with the company already fighting Apple and Microsoft in the courts over patent disputes between their mobile operating systems.