End of the patent wars? Apple CEO says he ‘hates litigation’ and would ‘prefer to settle’

tim-cookWhereas the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs was prepared to “go thermonuclear” on the subject of patent disputes, it appears his successor, Tim Cook, is a somewhat more conciliatory kind of guy.

During Apple’s Q2 2012 conference call on Tuesday, Cook said that he’d “highly prefer to settle than to battle” when it comes to lawsuits concerning his company.

He added, “I’ve always hated litigation and I continue to hate it.”

Don’t, of course, expect to see the Cupertino-based tech giant suddenly roll over and give up all its patent fights. That’s not going to happen. But Cook’s words indicate he’s intent on focusing on creating innovative products and making a success of Apple rather than getting bogged down in costly and distracting patent-related legal disputes — like the 20 cases the company is currently involved in with Samsung across 10 countries.

Cook made his feelings clear just a few days after news emerged that both he and Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung had agreed to a US district court directive ordering the pair to get together for a so-called settlement conference to try to resolve the patent dispute where Apple is accusing the Korean tech firm of “slavishly” copying elements of the iPhone and iPad in the design of its Galaxy range of handsets and tablets.

If they are unable to reach a settlement, the case will go to trial late July. Judging by what Cook came out with on Tuesday, that’s something he really doesn’t want to see happen.

Cook’s approach appears to be in stark contrast with Steve Jobs’ feelings on such matters. When the Apple co-founder learned about Google’s Android mobile operating system, he was, to put it mildly, a little upset.

He believed Android was a “stolen product” and was quoted in Walter Isaacson’s biography, released last year, as saying, “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong.” He went further, adding, “I’m going to destroy Android….I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Of course, there are bound to be some out there who will be looking at Cook’s softly-softly approach with a raised eyebrow, wondering if the Apple boss is being genuine. Is it all a ruse? A bluff? Is he attempting to lull his competitors into a false sense of security with his “I hate litigation” utterances? Following Cook’s words on Tuesday, it’s going to be fascinating to see just how the patent disputes Apple is currently engaged in will finally be settled.

[via TechCrunch]

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