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Apple's Patent War Against Android May Lead to Settlements Under Tim Cook's Influence

Bloomberg Businessweek publishes a cover story on the ongoing patent war between Apple and Android, outlining the history of the disputes between Apple and Android manufacturers such as HTC, Samsung and Motorola.

The report notes that Apple has actually experienced only limited success in its legal efforts, suggesting that Steve Jobs' vow to wage "thermonuclear war" against Android may be backfiring somewhat with Apple's soaring legal costs and retaliatory actions from its targets subjecting the company to risk while the benefits remain meager.

Photograph by Jochen Seigle/Polaris

Corroborating claims from earlier this month regarding Apple's willingness to settle with the Android device manufacturers it has filed suit against, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Apple and Samsung have "communicated lately" about settlement possibilities. The report suggests that settlement has become a more feasible option now that Apple is led by Tim Cook.
People familiar with the situation, however, note that top-level executives at both Apple and Samsung have communicated lately about potential settlement options. Apple CEO Tim Cook does not seem to share his predecessor’s passion about laying all foes to waste. Cook appears to view litigation as a necessary evil, not a vehicle of cosmic revenge.
Stanford University law professor Mark Lemley notes that the patent war has cost Apple and its opponents over $400 million over the past few years, and it is unclear just what benefits they have received for that massive sum of money. Lemley predicts that there will eventually be a major cross-licensing deal to bring the majority of the legal disputes to an end, but in the meantime the war continues to escalate as all sides continue to file new suits.

Top Rated Comments

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77 months ago
Tim Cook is really blazing his own trail at Apple. Good for him. I'm sure he will leave a long lasting and positive imprint (just like Steve Jobs).

Very exciting times for Apple!
Rating: 36 Votes
77 months ago
Looks like Tim is really following Steve's last bit of advise:

"Never ask what I would do. Just do what's right."
Rating: 25 Votes
77 months ago
Steve Jobs was a genius and there was no doubt that he led Apple to being what it is today, but you have to recognize he was very short-sighted in some things, like having to destroy Android. I have to agree with Tim here, settling for licensing patents can be beneficial to both Apple and the Android OEMs.
Rating: 18 Votes
77 months ago

These patent wars are really old. Not just from Apple. Why can't we all just get along?

And that is why you are not a business person :)

Being nice rarely generates revenue, and allowing people to freely steal ideas hurts competition which hurts the end user.
Rating: 13 Votes
77 months ago
Lawyers love these battles, lol
Rating: 12 Votes
77 months ago

Mr Cook sees the long term and knows Apple is just going to win in Sales. What other companies are innovating? Everyone just seems to continue copying apple. IE- next year other tablets will have retina displays... wow. :eek:

give credit where it's due... Samsung for your retina displays

in addition.. Samsung has already demoed their hi-res displays last year as well: (
Rating: 10 Votes
77 months ago

Being nice rarely generates revenue, and allowing people to freely steal ideas hurts competition which hurts the end user.

Actually, being nice can generate revenues, and hurting the competition can backfire.

Smart people at Apple knew it could never win most of these battles. As some have said all along, their primary intention was clearly to throw out short term stumbling blocks to slow down the competition, while Apple figured out their next gameplans.

In the long term, waging patent fights without the willingness to license them is very counterproductive. All it does is force the competition to come up with newer and perhaps better ways of doing something, which is the opposite of what you want them to do. Also, patents that are overturned in court become worthless.

It's far better to license patents and make money off them. In that respect, Microsoft is pretty smart. They're making money both from Apple and Google for ActiveSync, and from Android makers for all sorts of mobile related items.
Rating: 9 Votes
77 months ago
I think it might be too late for Apple to try licensing now. Some major companies aren't interested, because they smell victory.

As the article points out (I presume everyone who is posting in this thread has read the full article (, Apple's results haven't been that great. Worse, some patents are likely to be invalidated, rendering them worthless for licensing or lawsuits.

Samsung's CEO recently said they weren't going to back down for a couple of reasons. One is that they don't believe anyone should own the rights to basic shapes. Another is that they believe that Apple's attacks have resulted in very rewarding free publicity for their products which they'd otherwise not have... plus Samsung is now regarded as the underdog instead of Apple.

Of all people, Jobs should've realized that directly attacking the competition can backfire. When he left Apple to build NeXT, he also took much of Apple's best talent. Apple was furious and sued NeXT. All that ended up happening was that the world took more note of NeXT, as it was clear that Apple was worried about them. Apple vs. Samsung seems a repeat of that outcome.
Rating: 8 Votes
77 months ago
In the long run, one benefit of Apple fighting (up to a point) is to make sure they’re not seen as a “soft target.” Even if competitors take their ideas and (sometimes) get away with it in the end, at least they’ll know it’s not simple to get away with. Maybe some future “thefts” won’t happen as a result, and we’ll see more real innovation and originality in the market than we would if Apple just sat there and made only token efforts to defend itself.

Of course it’s only worth fighting up to a point.

Also remember that as of about a year ago (and I’ve seen no numbers since), Apple was the most-sued tech company. These battles include a lot of things that seem absurd on the surface, and plenty of them are absurd when fully understood, too—but it’s how the game is played, and Apple can’t be the lone company unwilling to use all available legal tactics. The “war” is a game Apple didn’t invent and can’t choose not to play.
Rating: 7 Votes
77 months ago
It's all Samsung (and someday Sharp and LG)

Just out of curiosity, why are you giving Samsung credit for the retina display? I was under the impression that the design was all Apple and Samsung just did the manufacturing.

Apple knows diddly-squat about how to design and mass-produce LCD displays.

It's a market that's overwhelmingly concentrated in a very small number of very capital-intensive companies (just like only a few companies are making cutting edge integrated circuits). Some of these "companies" are joint efforts among companies that can't swing the capital needed on their own.

Apple shopped around, asking these few companies if they could make millions a month of 2048x1536 9.7" displays, at a reasonable price. (Since IOS and OSX don't have resolution independence - it had to be twice the linear count of the old Ipad2.)
Rating: 7 Votes

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