Google's high-profile acquisition of Motorola Mobility is set to go ahead after regulators in China gave their official backing for the move. The deal, which is worth as much as $12.5 billion, means that Google will soon seize control of Motorola's patents.
Consequently, Google's ongoing battle with Apple has moved up another notch. Of course, Larry Page, the Google co-founder, is determined to ensure that the search engine giant soon competes on an even footing with Apple's iPhone, which currently dominates the lucrative smartphone market. Google has ambitious plans to extend its hardware business and this deal is seen as a key component of that.
Similarly, the takeover is seen as significant in terms of the continuing disputes over patents. Google is, of course, already the world's biggest maker of smartphone software and as a result of the acquisition, it will soon gain control of around 17,000 additional patents. With the new patents under its control, Google will be in a stronger position to protect Android devices in legal disputes with competitors, such as Apple.
The deal was first announced in 2011, but Google have been waiting on regulatory approval in China. In a statement, Google said: "Our stance since we agreed to acquire Motorola has not changed and we look forward to closing the deal."
Interestingly, though, the deal now puts Google in direct competition with other handset makers, like HTC, which work on the Android operating system. Under the terms of the deal, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said that Android software versions must be free and open over the next five years.
Additionally, it has been confirmed that Google will be required to report to an independent monitor in China on its progress in meeting the terms of the agreement.