Apple, Google and Samsung partner (you read that right) to buy Kodak patents

I bet you never though that sworn enemies such as Apple, Samsung and Google would ever go to bed together, especially given an erupting fight between Apple and Google over Kodak’s patents. But anything is possible in this crazy word, chiefly when the benefits of such an unusual partnership include cost savings plus joint, harmless ownership of more than 1,000 Kodak patents related to digital imaging.

The odd bedfellows are joined by a few other firms (LG, HTC and more) and the usual suspects that specialize in IP transactions. The consortium is organized so no company could exclusively own the patents and assert them against other members in litigation…

Mike Spector, Ashby Jones and Dana Mattioli, writing for The Wall STreet Journal:

The bidding group brings together a raft of strange bedfellows. It includes Apple Inc. and Google Inc., fierce competitors in the global smartphone market.

People familiar with the matter said the consortium bidding on Kodak’s patents also includes Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Inc. and HTC Corp., all companies building smartphones based on Google software.

Though Kodak was looking to earn up to $2.6 billion by selling out its patent portfolio to the highest bidder, current bids sit at around $500 million, up from the initial bids of $150-250 million.

The paper notes the deal could also attract attention from federal antitrust regulators.

Oddly, the crux of the story seems to be the unusual partnership between Apple, Google and Samsung.

Across the web the sentiment is similarly along these lines.

Take Buster Heine of Cult of Mac who covers the story under the “Is Hell Freezing Over?” headline prefix.

Brad Reed of Boy Genius Report opines that tech companies covet patents so little that Apple and Google “are actually willing to potentially cooperate and buy them jointly at prices lower than what Kodak has been expecting”.

Even The Loop‘s Jim Dalrymple ironically asks if Apple perhaps is partnering with sworn enemies because it’s “worried about having too much control”.

At any rate, it’s interesting – to say the least – that Apple would team up with its bitter enemy Google.

What do you think, is this a sign that the two Silicon Valley giants are trying to be friends?