So, here’s the deal. Bloomberg reported that folk ‘familiar with the situation’ recently divulged that Apple and Google have joined forces to offer more than $500 million to buy Eastman Kodak Co’s patents out of bankruptcy.
Given the competitive nature of their relationship, the idea that the two mega-corporations might come together to do anything feels a little weird. Still, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Previously, a group consisting of Apple, Microsoft Corp (MSFT) and Research in motion LtD. went ahead and bought Nortel Networks Corp.’s more than 6000 patents for $4.5 billion sometime last year.
Of course, while the idea that companies are capable of waving $500 million dollars around might be staggering to contemplate, it’s not a significant sum when compared to the patents’ actual worth. According to Bloomberg, as spotted by CultofMac, Kodak’s patents may be worth somewhere between $2.21 billion to $2.57 billion, so if Apple and Google can acquire them for the proffered figure, it’s going to be quite the steal.
Now for the million dollar question: what will they be doing with it all? The patents for sale appear to be connected to the capture, manipulation and sharing of digital images. As such, is this going to herald some snazzy new innovations or will this simply mean an improvement of pre-existing features? Only time will tell.