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4G/3G/WiFi

Rumor: Apple, Google Eye Nortel Patents

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) are among the likely bidders for Nortel Networks Ltd. 's wireless patent portfolio in an auction that has already gone one round, according to sources in a Reuters report.

Final bids are due in the coming weeks for Nortel's 4,000 patents, which are reportedly worth more than $1 billion. Nortel has divided the patents into six groups related to different technology areas, such as wireless handsets and infrastructure, optical and data networking, Internet, and Internet advertising, according to the report. The auction process was reportedly launched seven months ago. (See Rumor: Nortel Seeks Bids for Its Patents.)

Apple, Google, Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), and BlackBerry are seen as likely bidders for the patents related to 3G and LTE, notes the report. (See RIM CEO Calls Nortel LTE Patents a 'National Treasure'.)

Why this matters
The fate of Nortel's patent portfolio has been one of the most eagerly anticipated outcomes of the bankrupt Canadian vendor's asset sell-off. The patents related to LTE are expected to get the most attention because they are potentially very valuable. (See Nortel's LTE Patent Goldmine.)

If relative mobile newcomers Apple or Google end up acquiring Nortel's wireless patents, that could change the balance of power in mobile device technology between established giants like Nokia and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) and their upstart rivals.

For more
Here's the lowdown on Nortel's patent situation:



— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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