But she wondered if buying Motorola was the best way for Google to acquire such a patent portfolio. "Endangering the steep growth curve of a market leading OS may seem foolhardy, and that raises the question of whether Google will, eventually, sell on the handset operations themselves and just keep the patents and other software assets," she said. If that were Google's intention though, it had simpler options. For instance, it could have bought Interdigital, which is shopping its patent portfolio, she noted. In addition, Google was an early bidder for Nortel's patent portfolio, which ultimately sold to a group of companies for $4.5 billion.
Last month investor Carl Icahn met with Motorola to suggest that the company look for ways to monetize its large patent portfolio, since the value of mobile patents has grown with the many legal battles. At the time, it was difficult to imagine how Motorola might better monetize its patents. It could potentially have sold the patents but retained rights to use them, but structuring such a deal might have been difficult. Instead, selling the entire company appears to be the way Motorola decided it could best monetize those patents.