Tim Cook reportedly opposed patent suits against Samsung

Now Apple's chief executive, Cook was against the lawsuits because of Samsung's role as a key supplier of components for the iPhone and iPad, Reuters reports.

As Apple's patent infringement lawsuits against Samsung drag on, it appears that not everyone in Apple brass was in favor of suing the South Korean electronics giant.

Tim Cook, who succeeded Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as chief executive after seven years as chief operating officer, was opposed to suing Samsung, mostly because of the company's role as a key supplier of components for the iPhone and iPad, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The Cupertino-based company was Samsung's biggest customer in 2011, reportedly buying some $8 billion worth of screens and chips.

After signing a flash memory deal in 2005, the two companies developed a close relationship that included the grandson of Samsung's founder visiting Jobs' Palo Alto, Calif., home, Reuters reported. That partnership reportedly gave each company insight into each others operations.

After the launch of the Galaxy S in 2010, Jobs and Cook complained to Samsung executives about the smartphone's look and feel, expecting the company would alter its design, Reuters reported. Suspecting that Samsung was relying on its position as a critical components supplier to protect it from legal retribution, Jobs' patience ran out a year later when Samsung launched the Galaxy Tab.

Apple filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung in April 2011 in an effort to ban a number of Samsung's devices from sale in the U.S., winning a lopsided $1 billion judgment last August. But as the case winds on Apple has failed to secure the sales bans.

"Samsung may have cut into Apple's customer base somewhat, but there is no suggestion that Samsung will wipe out Apple's customer base, or force Apple out of the business of making smartphones," U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh wrote in December. "The present case involves lost sales -- not a lost ability to be a viable market participant."

Apple was apparently interested in avoiding the courtroom, proposing a reciprocal patent agreement to Samsung in the months leading up to their landmark trial, but the two could not arrive at a deal acceptable to both companies.

As its relationship with Samsung has become strained, Apple reportedly tried to secure exclusive access to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. smartphone chips by making an investment offer in the custom chip maker in excess of $1 billion. The offer was ultimately rejected, but such an arrangement would likely have helped Apple reduce its dependence on Samsung for mobile device components.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

 

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