Google has clinched the final regulatory approvals required for its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility and its trove of mobile patents.
China's Ministry of Commerce approved the merger on Saturday, clearing the final potential roadblock to Google making the purchase and bolstering Android's defense against patent infringement claims.
The ministry gave the proviso that Google must agree to keep Android free and openly available to handset OEMs over the next five years, Associated Press reported.
This condition is likely aimed at addressing concerns that Google may give preferential access to the Android platform to its own handset making subsidiary.
But recent reports indicate that Google is planning to go in the opposite direction with its Android handset efforts.
The company is considering making early access to Android builds available to a wider range of handset partners, sources toldThe Wall Street Journal earlier this month.
The company effectively plans to keep pursuing its Nexus strategy for new Android iterations, but with multiple partners simultaneously, the sources said.
Google first arranged to buy Motorola Mobility in mid-2011. The deal is widely considered to be aimed primarily at giving the company the ability to help its Android allies defend against patent suits brought by competitors such as Apple.
But the announcement sparked fears that Google may end up competing head on with other Android handset makers, and that its control over the platform would reduce the OEMs' ability to compete.