The auction is scheduled to take place in June, so Google’s bid sets the lower limit while other buyers are free to set their offers.
The auction of the patent profile represents the last of Nortel’s assets to be moved, marking the formal end of an era in Canadian technology history. Nortel was the biggest technology company in the country and led the way in terms of telecommunications innovation before its collapse.
The patents that are up for auction represent a range of technologies in the wireless, wired and digital communications fields. “The extensive patent portfolio touches nearly every aspect of telecommunications and additional markets as well, including internet search and social networking,” Nortel said in a press release.
Other companies expected to make bids on what’s left of Nortel include IBM, Intel and Waterloo’s Research In Motion.
The Google bid makes sense because of the search engine giant’s recent push into the wireless sector. There could be a lot in the Nortel patent packages of benefit to a company like Google, so it’s probably fair to say that the $900 million bid will be topped by a few other companies before the dust settles.
“The whole process has been a bit sad,” Duncan Stewart, director of research for technology at Deloitte, said. ”Anybody who’d ever been up to Ottawa and seen the Nortel R&D centre and seen all the incredible Canadians working at pushing back the boundaries of knowledge, it was an amazing place to be, especially in the 90s and yes, this is not only sad, because it’s the last bit of Nortel, but to many Canadians I think it was the most important bit of Nortel.”
Canada, since the time of the collapse of Nortel, has seen its days in the tech sun diminish considerably. While there are still some bright spots in the industry, it’s disappointing to see the final days of a once great company pass by.