Smartphone competitors Apple and Google may be teaming up to gain control of a trove of imaging patents from former film heavyweight Kodak. Bloomberg reports that the two companies were behind a bid of more than $500 million earlier this week for Kodak's 1,100 imaging patents. Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, had attempted to use its patent portfolio to sue several companies as its business prospects dwindled. Ironically enough, Apple claimed it had ownership of several of the patents — a move which eventually led to Kodak suing Apple for trying to block the patent auction.
It's not uncommon for companies to team up for this sort of group bid; a consortium that included Microsoft, Apple, and Research In Motion joined forces last year to buy a collection of Nortel patents for $4.5 billion. Of course, the battle between iOS and Android puts a collaboration between Apple and Google in slightly different territory — in fact, the Nortel patent purchase came at the expense of Google, which was outbid by the larger group. It's not clear whether the alleged team-up is the result of simple convenience or the result of a different demeanor on Apple's part as Tim Cook makes the company his own. According to Bloomberg, both Apple and Google had assembled different consortiums earlier in the year — Apple with Microsoft, and Google with certain Android OEMs — before deciding to join forces directly. Whether the bid will end up being accepted still remains to be seen.