Apple part of $4.5 billion Nortel patent acquisition

Some more information has come to light about the Nortel patent auction, which saw a consortium that included Apple win big, and Google get frozen out. According to Reuters, however, Google had some fun along the way:

"It became clear that they were bidding with the distance between the earth and the sun. One was the sum of a famous mathematical constant, and then when it got to $3 billion, they bid pi," the source said, adding the bid was $3.14159 billion.

"Either they were supremely confident or they were bored."

Brun's and Meissel-Mertens constants aside, it came down the the Apple "Rockstar" team, which included RIM, Microsoft, and others, and Google's Rangers. Google stayed in until the price rose above $4 billion. While they won't say much on the record, Google is privately furious according to TechCrunch's MG Siegler. Compared to Apple and the other mobile platforms, Google has an incredibly weak mobile patent portfolio and, if the Nortel deal goes through, this puts them in an even more vulnerable position.

Robert Cringely thinks Google will try to stall the deal through litigation and anti-trust complaints, and while citing anonymous sources, says:

Apple put up $2 billion for outright ownership of Nortel’s Long Term Evolution (4G) patents as well as another package of patents supposedly intended to hobble Android.

FOSSpatents reminded me that there's a hearing scheduled for July 11, and it's possible more solid information will become available at that time.

[Reuters, TechCrunch, Cringely, @asymco @FOSSpatents]