Of course, Lucent doesn't exist anymore, either. Nor does Scientific-Atlanta or General Instrument, once the two dominant technology companies serving the U.S. cable industry. That tells you something about the fundamental changes in the cable and telecom industries, aside from the value of assets serving those industries.
Google has made a formal bid for the patent portfolio, but many believe Ericsson, Research in Motion and Apple also might bid.
Some say the move is simply a defensive one for Google and Apple because a treasure chest of patents is increasingly seen as a strong defense against intellectual property litigation. According to research firm Fairfield Resources, there are 105 patent families essential to 4G technologies. Nokia holds 57 of these, Ericsson 14. Nortel holds about seven of the families.