Google Gains Approval For Motorola Acquisition In U.S., Europe

Google confirmed Monday that it has cleared two major hurdles in its quest to acquire smartphone maker Motorola Mobility by winning the approval of the U.S. Justice Department and the European Union to move forward with the merger.

Google Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Don Harrison said that the company is now just awaiting the decisions of "a few" other jurisdictions before it can officially seal the deal.

"We’re happy that today the European Commission approved our proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which we announced in August," Harrison wrote in Google’s company blog. "This is an important milestone in the approval process and it moves us closer to closing the deal."

Google has said the Motorola acquisition would “supercharge” its Android application ecosystem and enhance competition in the mobile computing space. Motorola expressed its commitment to the Android OS several years ago, and uses the increasingly popular mobile OS to fuel its smart devices, including the Droid and Xoom.

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"Motorola Mobility's total commitment to Android has created a natural fit for our two companies," said Google CEO Larry Page in a statement. "Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers. I look forward to welcoming the Motorolans to our family of Googlers."

Gaining approval for the acquisition from the U.S. Justice Department wasn’t exactly a quick process for Google. After its initial filing with the SEC, Google was asked to provide additional information to the Justice Department, which reviewed the company’s proposal thoroughly to ensure no antitrust laws would be violated by the deal.

The Wall Street Journal also reported Tuesday that the approval from the EU came "with a stern warning" that the companies are not to sue competitors over the use of standards essential patents, which are patents all manufacturers must adhere to when working within an industry standard such as 3G or Wi-Fi.

"Today's decision does not mean the merger clearance blesses all actions by Motorola in the past or all future action by Google with regard to the use of standard essential patents," said EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in the report, making reference to the injunctions Motorola is seeking against Apple in Germany.

The pending merger is being welcomed by Google channel partners, who feel the marriage between Google’s Android software and Motorola’s hardware will give them a leg up in the mobility market down the line.

Thomas Paquet, a senior consultant with G-Apps Masters, a Las Vegas-based Google VAR, said Google Apps resellers are starting to enter the mobile space with Google Chromebooks, but with Motorola now in the mix a jump to smartphones and tablets could be right around the corner. "As the maturity develops in the next two to three years, we'll be in a different position with mobile," Paquet said.