Google is in some trouble. Eric Schmidt swears he hasn’t a care in the world, but the truth of the matter is Apple has Android in its crosshairs, and that won’t change until Google’s patent portfolio broadens. As of now, the search giant currently holds less than 1,000 wireless-related patents, and after the devastating loss of Nortel’s 6,000-strong patent portfolio, Google can’t afford to waste any more time. And apparently, it isn’t. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Mountain View-based company is reportedly in talks with InterDigital, which currently owns 8,800 patents related to wireless.
Apple has already lodged a massive lawsuit against Samsung, and has swung approval of its requested import ban of HTC products. Already, two major Android partners have been hit hard, and there are plenty more where that came from. Gaining control of InterDigital’s portfolio could be a total game-changer, in that Google would finally be able to pull Android out of its position of vulnerability and get Apple off the backs of its manufacturing partners.
According to the Wall Street Journal and its unnamed sources, InterDigital only started looking to sell after seeing Google’s interest in fleshing out its patent portfolio. “People familiar with the matter” claim that the companies have been in talks over the past few days. Neither Google nor InterDigital have commented on the possible transaction, although InterDigital did say that its patents and engineering/licensing capabilities would be valuable to a number of buyers. Obviously this is just the beginning of InterDigital’s move toward licensing, but a win for Google would be absolutely crucial.