Late Friday, sources informed the Wall Street Journal that Apple has officially joined the bidding party. The Cupertino firm will join Intel and Ericsson in a bidding dogfight with Google to acquire a teeming lot of 6,000 patents from the telecom-equipment maker Nortel. As of now, Apple is a "qualified bidder."
Nortel's treasure chest of patents is believed to be worth an estimated $1 billion. Many analysts believe this bidding war will come down to an ugly battle between Apple and Google, as both tech giants look to shore up their posturing in the mobile technology space. "There has been one round of bidding on those patents, this has been completed," one source told Reuters last December. "And what Nortel has done is divide the patents up into different lots covering different kinds of technologies."
Nortel, whose remaining assets remain in bankruptcy proceedings, this week delayed the auction by seven days until June 27, citing a "significant level of interest" in the portfolio.
For now, reps for Google, Intel, RIM, and Apple aren't talking or expressing any clues as to their respective level of interest in a slate of patents that span multiple facets of the mobile tech industry - Wi-Fi, social networking and, yes, even LTE. Consequently, the winning bidder could stand to benefit enormously from the patents in the coming years.