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Google and Apple team up to buy Kodak patents

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Google and Apple are more often seen as rivals rather than teammates, but they've joined forces to pool a bid of US$500 million to buy patents from bankrupt Eastman Kodak Co.

The companies are planning to buy some of Kodak's 1,100 imaging patents in a bankruptcy auction. Apple was part of a group that purchased more than 6,000 patents from Nortel Networks for $4.5 billion in a similar proceeding last year; Google went alone and lost out on those patents.

The patents in question pertain to the "capture, manipulation and sharing of digital images." Apple had previously joined with Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures Management LLC in July to try purchasing some of the patents at auction, while Google joined up with several Android manufacturers and RPX Corp to make an offer. Each group offered less than the $500 million that Kodak is seeking, so the two groups have now teamed up to offer the requested amount.

Eastman Kodak wishes to exit bankruptcy in the first half of 2013. The reorganized company will focus on commercial, packaging and functional printing, and enterprise services instead of photography.

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