In the technology business, everybody sues. Apple sues Amazon, Nokia sues Apple, Microsoft sues Barnes and Noble, and the list goes on and on. Almost all these suits are simple patent disputes. One of the companies accuses the other of infringing a patent, and the other defends by turning the accusation around. Because of how these suits work, it is beneficial if large companies have equally large patent portfolios, which helps to discourage potential prosecutors.
Being as large as it is, Google is a company others seem to enjoy to sue. However, prosecutors may want to rethink their lawsuits as Google has just made a winning bid for a war chest of legal ammunition. This ammunition consists of over 6,000 patents from Nortel Networks Corp that cover many things, from mobile networks and 4G to the web and social networking. They are valued by Google at a cool $900 million.
Google has already begun receiving heat for its growing Android operating system, and they can only expect more in the future. As such, it makes sense for them to invest in this defense against further lawsuits.
Even though I am not a fan of the ongoing and mostly useless patent wars, Google has generally been responsible with their patent and don't seem to pursue frivolous lawsuits. Their goal in buying these patents, stated in their blog, is to "not only create a disincentive for others to sue Google, but also help us, our partners and the open source community — which is integrally involved in projects like Android and Chrome — continue to innovate." Hopefully they stay true to this purpose and not misuse their new patents.[CBC News]