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Apple and Google join forces for $500m Kodak patents bid

Apple and Google are unlikely bedfellows, but have joined forces to rescue Kodak's patent library.

Wait, what? Apple and Google joining forces? The two companies that have been waging smart phone war with each other the last few years? That's right.

The two tech giants are pooling their resources to buy Kodak's 1,100 imaging patents after the company filed for bankruptcy, Bloomberg reports. But don't worry, it's not all been one big love-in. Apple and Google have only partnered after leading two separate groups vying for the patents. That didn't work, so they've resorted to working together.

These kinds of partnerships aren't entirely unheard of, either. Companies grudgingly team up with arch rivals because sharing patents will save them a lot of time in court at a later date. Just last year, Apple, Microsoft and RIM united to buy Nortel Networks Corp's 6,000-odd patents for $4.5 billion. Google lost out after offering $900 million.

According to sources, Apple initially teamed up with Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures Management LLC. Google's first partnership for the deal was with patent aggregation firm RPX Corp and Asian makers of Android mobiles.

Spokespeople from Apple, Google and Kodak all declined to comment.

Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in January, listing $5.1 billion in assets and $6.75 billion in debt. The 132-year-old company plans to exit bankruptcy in the first half of next year. We'll have to wait and see if it accepts the bid for its patents.

So what could these 1,100 patents mean for Apple and Google's phones? Well we could see a lot more photographic features, though seeing as both companies (and RIM) would have access to exactly the same patents, they'd probably all add the same functions. But that's no bad thing. And if it means fewer drawn-out court cases, all the better, in my opinion.

Do you think Apple and Google are reluctantly teaming up? Or could this be the start of a whole new era for both companies? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.