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Looks like US Federal regulators are likely to approve Google’s deal to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5bn, leaving the main hurdle to cross in Europe with the European Commission EC.Google needs to get approval from the US Federal Trade Commission FTC, the EC, the Texas attorney general, and the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to the Associated Press. The FTC and EC are traditionally the two major barriers to a big deal like this, so the likely approval by the FTC will be comforting to Google.One of the things that will go in Google’s favor is its promise to run Motorola Mobility as a separate company, rather than absorbing it into the larger company.
This will allow it to operate on its own and give Google the freedom to spin it off or sell it on further down the line.However, regulators might fear that Google could priorities Motorola Mobility over other providers of the Android operating system, so much so that Google could even give it early releases of new versions of the software ahead of its rivals.Despite this fear, competition is likely to increase across the entire mobile sector. Microsoft’s shares skyrocketed after the announcement, as investors took the view that Google was effectively becoming a rival to its strongest mobile partners, such as HTC and Samsung.
This led some to suggest that Windows Phone 7 could benefit if these companies decide to cool their relations to Google and try to find another partner. Both HTC and Samsung already make Windows Phone 7 devices, but their primary operating system is undoubtedly Android.Despite the caution over what Google might do with Motorola Mobility, HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG have all voiced support for the deal, primarily because Motorola Mobility has 17,000 mobile phone patents at its disposal, which Google could use to help defend the Android operating system.
Both HTC and Samsung are involved in bitter patent disputes with Apple, so it’s not surprising to see their support of more patent muscle for Google.Google is already being investigated by the FTC for potential antitrust abuse of its dominant position in the search engine market, where it is accused of bumping its own links up to the top of the list. That case has yet to be decided, but it seems that for buying Motorola Mobility, at least, Google will get the all clear.