hardware side of the mobile business. According to a report on GigaOM, MS was one of many potential suitors circling Motorola's treasure trove of patents, effectively forcing El Goog to swoop in for the $12.5 billion kill. Moto's portfolio of 17,000 patents and 7,500 patent applications would have significantly strengthened Redmond's attack on the Android platform, but it appears the loss might actually benefit MS in other unintended ways. Despite the cheery, public well-wishing from handset makers, insider rumblings indicate a possible mass OEM defection to Windows Phone 7 could shortly be afoot, paving the way for a fierce, three-way mobile OS fight. For its part, Google doesn't seem too worried about the competition, considering the deal's hefty $2.5 billion break-up fee -- a percentage three times that of the AT&T / T-Mobile merger penalty -- a confident financial sign it intends to win this wireless race.