Apple and Google embrace for Kodak moment

Apple has joined forces with Google to offer bankrupt Kodak $500 million for its digital imaging patents.

The two companies had both led separate groups which had intended to purchase the patents which would aid them in developing smartphone technology.

Apple had sought to buy the patents along with a group of companies including Microsoft, while Google had teamed up with firms including some Android manufacturing partners in Asia.

However, sources cited by Bloomberg claimed that the pair had decided to join forces and attempt to get hold of the imaging patents for themselves.

The two have previously gone head to head on procuring patents, for example, when an Apple-led consortium snapped up Nortel’s IP for $4.5 billion last year, following an offer from Google and its partners.

Kodak is in the process of scaling down its operations following its filing for bankruptcy and has committed to raising at least $500 million through patent sales so it can continue operating, and move into printing and enterprise services.

The move shows that there is some effort to avoid confrontation on patents relating to smartphone technology.  In the past Apple and Google have come to blows over wireless patents.

Google is also indirectly affected by the legal battle that has engulfed Apple and Samsung over smartphones and tablets.

In a separate case, Google told a court that “abstract patents” are plaguing the technology industry. Along with other companies such as Facebook and Red Hat, Google told a court that software patents should not be granted where ideas are too abstract to be monopolised.