Ina Fried

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Google Gets European Okay for Motorola Mobility Purchase

Google has gotten the all-clear from European Union regulators to buy Motorola Mobility, though officials remain concerned about how Google will use Motorola’s patent portfolio.

“This merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices,” Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told reporters, according to Reuters. “This is our worry.”

European regulators had asked for more information about the deal, but said last month that they would make their call on it by today.

The commission said in a statement that it had concluded that Google was unlikely to prevent other hardware makers from getting access to Android, given Motorola’s relatively small share of the market.

The deal needs approval from the Department of Justice, though that is expected to come as early as this week. It also needs sign-off in other countries, including China, according to Reuters.

Google said it still expects to close the deal early this year.

“This is an important milestone in the approval process and it moves us closer to closing the deal,” Google said in a blog post. “We are now just waiting for decisions from a few other jurisdictions before we can close this transaction.”

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald