With fierce patent skirmishes erupting all around the industry, properly arming oneself has never been more important. Of course, you don't need to tell Microsoft that. The company has splurged on its latest trip to the armory, shelling out a whopping $1.056 billion on a heaping bundle of AOL patents—800 in total.
The announcement doesn't detail which patents Microsoft is buying. However, it adds that, on top of the 800 that are changing hands, Microsoft will get a non-exclusive license to AOL's remaining 300 patents. Those patents cover, among other things, "advertising, search, content generation/management, social networking, mapping, multimedia/streaming, and security."
Conversely, AOL will keep a license to the patents it's selling.
Microsoft legal chief Brad Smith comments, somewhat cryptically, "This is a valuable portfolio that we have been following for years and analyzing in detail for several months." He adds that the patents being sold "complement our existing portfolio."
The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year. If you happen to own AOL stock, good news: AOL expects to let shareholder reap "a significant portion" of the proceeds. The company will figure out how to do that before the deal is completed.