Google bought a portfolio of patents from IBM, Bloomberg reports.This is another step in the global patent arms race, which got even hotter recently because of all the patent litigation swirling around Android and the many battles between Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Oracle, HTC (did we miss anyone?), and Google losing the $4.5 billion Novell patent auction.
The Bloomberg headline says Google bought “inventions” but of course Google did the opposite. What Google did was buy abstract legal rights as a form of racketeering protection. No one in the software industry thinks software patents help innovation; instead, they hamper it. Instead of buying inventions, what Google did–was forced to do, like all other tech companies–was spend money that could have gone to invention and instead spend it on what is essentially an enormous innovation tax.