In a move that could affect the mobile technology industry, AOL today announced the company has handed over to Microsoft 800 patents and patent applications. The move, which comes as AOL is looking to survive, will fetch the company $1 billion, according to Macworld.
Once one of the biggest names in social networking and on the Internet as a whole, AOL is trying desperately to remain relevant in a tech industry that is increasingly geared towards mobile computing. Today’s sale is clearly an attempt to “sell its patents to raise cash, and the deal with Microsoft reflects growing interest from technology companies to acquire patent portfolios, both to counter and deter patent litigation.”
Last month, Facebook acquired 750 patents from IBM, as that company battles Yahoo in court over patent disputes.
Assuming it gains governmental approval for the deal, AOL will then receive a license from Microsoft for the patents it has sold. In addition, the company has retained 300 patents and patent applications.
We’re not sure what today’s transaction means for Microsoft and for the tech industry in general, since details of the deal weren’t immediately released. However, these patents could help Microsoft better compete in the growing mobile market where it lags far behind Apple and Google. In addition, we wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft eventually bought AOL outright.
We’ll keep you updated.