Google has received approval from the European Union for its planned purchase of Motorola Mobility. This is one of a number of governmental approvals that Google needs before the purchase can continue, including sign-offs from the governments of Israel, Taiwan, China, and the United States. The U.S. Justice Department is expected to approve the acquisition this week.
The EU executive, which acts as the competition regulator for the 27-member European Union, said the deal would not significantly change the market for operating systems and patents for these devices.
"We have approved the acquisition... because upon careful examination, this transaction does not itself raise competition issues," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.
But Almunia said he was worried about the possibility of abuse of patents by Google and other firms now involved in a series of legal disputes over intellectual property rights.
Last year, Google announced its would acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. If the acquisition proceeds, Google would gain control of thousands of Motorola's wireless patents, along with its handset manufacturing business, among a number of other components.
Google would also take charge of a number of lawsuits that Motorola is currently participating in, including a number involving Apple.
Update: The United States Department of Justice has signed off on the acquisition as well.