EU wants more on Google-Motorola deal

STOCKHOLM  — The European Commission has asked Google Inc. for more information about its planned US$12.5 billion deal to buy Android smartphone maker Motorola Mobility, and has suspended its approval process until it has all the documentation it needs, a spokeswoman for the commission said on Tuesday.

The query means the Jan. 10 deadline for the first phase of the approval process won’t be met. A new date will be announced when Google has submitted the documentation, the commission said.

The commission needs certain documents that are essential to its evaluation of the transaction, the spokeswoman said via email, without elaborating on what those documents need to detail.

Google [Nasdaq: GOOG] confirmed that the commission has asked for more information, saying that it is routine measure. The company is “confident the commission will conclude that this acquisition is good for competition and we’ll be working closely and cooperatively with them as they continue their review,” a spokeswoman said via email.

In September, the U.S. Department of Justice also asked Google for more information about the potential ramifications of the deal.

Google announced its plan to acquire Motorola Mobility in August, with Google CEO Larry Page saying the company aims to “better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.”

The deal raised questions about how other mobile phone manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung, which ship the majority of Android-based smartphones, would react. So far, Samsung has announced it will back Tizen, a new Linux-based OS based on MeeGo and Limo.

But the Android camp is stronger than ever with a 52.5 per cent share of smartphones sold during the third quarter, according to Gartner.

Android’s dominant position could raise concern among regulators, but Motorola’s small European smartphone market share limits the potential impact, according to Mark Newman, chief research officer at market research company Informa Telecoms & Media.

Last month the deal won approval from Motorola Mobility’s shareholders. About 99 per cent of the shares voting at a special meeting voted in favor, which represented about 74 per cent of Motorola’s total outstanding shares of common stock as of Oct. 11, the company said at the time.

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