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Google gets Motorola approval from China

Warwick Ashford

Chinese regulators have approved Google's $12.5bn deal to acquire phone maker Motorola Mobility, but under certain conditions.

The approval of Google's biggest acquisition to date comes just over three months after the deal was approved by regulators in the US and Europe.

Google’s relations with Chinese authorities have been strained since it moved its search engine out of the country two years ago in a dispute over censorship and computer security.

Chinese approval means the deal can now go ahead, but only on condition that  Google keeps its Android mobile operating system free for other device makers for up to five years.

When the deal was announced in August, Google chief executive Larry Page emphasised that Motorola Mobility would remain a licensee of Android, and Android will remain open, with Mobility run as a separate entity.

The European Commission (EC) raised concerns that Google might restrict the use of  Android to Motorola, but in February decided that the move was unlikely.

However, the EC and US regulators said they would monitor Google’s and rivals’ use of patents.

The acquisition will give Google access to more than 17,000 patents held by Motorola Mobility, which analysts say enable Google to provide patent protection to device makers using its Android mobile operating system.

The acquisition will also enable Google to move into manufacturing of phones and tablet computers for the first time, according to the New York Times.

The deal was announced last August and had received all necessary regulatory approvals except in China, where Google’s government relations have been strained since it moved its search engine out of the country two years ago in a dispute over censorship and computer security.


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