Back in August, Google announced its intent to acquire Motorla Mobility, which would make Google not only a mobile operating system (Android) provider, but a hardware provider, as well.
Motorola Mobility's hardware, by the way, isn't limited to phones and tablets.
If a report from the Wall Street Journal, citing "people familiar with the matter" is accurate ,than we should be seeing the U.S. Department of Justice clearing the acquisition as early as next week.
When Google CEO Larry Page first announced the acquisition, he said that Google would run Motorola as a separate business, and that it would not affect Android as an "open platform". Motorola would remain a licensee of the operating system.
He also brought up a previous blog post from Google about companies including Microsoft and Apple “banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android.” The Motorola acquisition, Page said, would help Google “better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.”
With the deal, Google is getting thousands of patents.
Interestingly enough, the same WSJ report says:
The Justice Department also is set to clear a second tech-patent deal that has raised antitrust concerns in the smartphone industry. It will allow a consortium of tech companies including Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Research In Motion Ltd. to acquire a trove of patents from bankrupt Canadian telecom-equipment maker Nortel Networks Corp. for $4.5 billion, people familiar with the matter said. Investigators had been looking at whether those tech companies were planning to use the patents to unfairly hobble competing smartphones using Google's Android software.
Another fun angle to this whole story: Motorola Mobility seeks 2.25% of iPhone and iPad sales in patent royalties, and a letter from Google to IEEE President Gordon Day, indicates Google will, post-acquisition, support that as well (FOSS Patents provides the letter, via John Paczkowski)
Google's competitors are of course hoping for antitrust regulators to step in and limit what Google is able to do with its acquisition.