Apple’s ‘Thermonuclear’ War on Android Detailed by Businessweek

It was revealed in his biography that Steve Jobs wanted to spend ‘every penny’ of Apple’s cash on hand to battle Android for stealing ideas from iOS:

Our lawsuit is saying, “Google, you fucking ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off.” Grand theft. 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. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this. They are scared to death, because they know they are guilty. Outside of Search, Google’s products—Android, Google Docs—are shit.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s response to this was to say the development of Android had started before the iPhone.

Nonetheless, a full-scale patent war has emerged that will give anyone a headache trying to track all the lawsuits in place. Businessweek has published a detailed read that outlines Apple’s war on Android:

In her black robe and strand of white pearls, Lucy Koh projects the serious, deliberate demeanor befitting a U.S. District Court judge. The Harvard-educated former federal prosecutor has served on the California state bench and as a partner in a Silicon Valley law firm, where she litigated technology patent lawsuits. For all her earnestness, Koh, 43, could not resist needling the lawyers skirmishing before her at a hearing last June in San Jose.

“Last time you were here,” the judge noted, “you said that you had a business relationship—I forget what the number was—$8 million, $8 billion?”

“I think it was in excess of $7 billion,” said attorney Harold McElhinny. That’s how much McElhinny’s client, Apple (AAPL), pays annually for components made by Samsung Electronics (005930), the company Apple is suing for patent infringement. Apple is Samsung’s single biggest customer, responsible for 7.6 percent of the Korean company’s 2011 revenue of $109 billion. The dependence runs both ways: Apple’s absurdly lucrative iPad and iPhone operations would grind to a halt without Samsung’s parts. Yet here in Koh’s courtroom, the companies were bashing each other’s brains out.

The litigation appears to be never-ending; the only winners so far have been the lawyers as over $400 million has been paid out in legal fees over the past few years. But there is a glimmer of hope as the report notes potential settlement options have been discussed by executives at Apple and Samsung:

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.

With Steve Jobs no longer at the helm of Apple, it is now up to Tim Cook to settle things down. It appears he will not fight to the death as Jobs would have liked, but rather take a different approach with Samsung.

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