Google may have simple been tired of lawsuits that are being filed against it. Fortunately, the company is sitting on a pile of cash to deal with this problem: It simply buys patents.
Nortel said that it has agreed to transfer its remaining 6000 patents to Google for $900 million in cash. According to the company, the patents cover "wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider, semiconductors and other patent portfolios. The extensive patent portfolio touches nearly every aspect of telecommunications and additional markets as well, including Internet search and social networking."
Google's announcement did not reflect the excitement at Nortel, but indicated that it was a required purchase to protect its innovations. From the blog post:
"The patent system should reward those who create the most useful innovations for society, not those who stake bogus claims or file dubious lawsuits. It's for these reasons that Google has long argued in favor of real patent reform, which we believe will benefit users and the U.S. economy as a whole."
"So after a lot of thought, we’ve decided to bid for Nortel’s patent portfolio in the company’s bankruptcy auction."
It clearly wasn't something Google was eager to do from the very beginning, but given its disadvantage of being a relatively young company that is exposed to lawsuits and potentially bogus lawsuits, a patent portfolio is a requirement. I doubt this was the last patent purchase at Google.