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Regulators Approve Google’s Acquisition of Motorola Mobility

Google’s planned acquisition of cell phone maker Motorola Mobility has cleared two important hurdles as regulators in the U.S and Europe has given the thumbs up to the proposed $12.5 billion deal.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the European Union said the acquisition would not lessen competition in the cell phone business.

The approvals mean that Google is a step closer to being able to manufacture cell phones and tablet computers and compete directly with Apple. The deal also involves 17,000 patents and 6,800 patent applications held by Motorola.

Google still need to get approvals of several other countries including China and Taiwan.

The DOJ also approved the purchases by Apple, Microsoft, and Research in Motion of certain patents held by Nortel Networks and Apple’s purchases of patents held by Novell.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said all of the purchases are unlikely to “substantially lessen competition.”

DOJ’s antitrust division conducted an in-depth investigation and analysis on whether the companies' acquisition of the patents would be used to reduce competition in the cell phone business. The investigation focused on “standard essential patents” (SEPS) that Motorola Mobility and Nortel had previously committed to license to other companies.

The antitrust division concluded the acquisition of Motorola mobility and the purchases of patents by Apple, Microsoft, and Research in Motion would not substantially reduce competition.

In fact, some analysts say the acquisition will result in greater competition in the cell phone marketplace.