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Apple and Samsung could make nice in patent wars

According to a new report, top brass at both companies are said to be warming to the idea of a settlement deal with one another.

An example from Apple's lawsuit against Samsung last year.
An example from Apple's lawsuit against Samsung last year

With lawsuits filed against each other in countries around the world, Apple and Samsung could be headed toward a truce with one another, according to a new report.

In a detailed history of Apple's legal battles with mobile-device competitors including the likes of HTC and Samsung, Bloomberg suggests that Apple and Samsung's top leadership could be looking to strike a settlement.

"People familiar with the situation, however, note that top-level executives at both Apple and Samsung have communicated lately about potential settlement options," the report today says.

"Apple CEO Tim Cook does not seem to share his predecessor's passion about laying all foes to waste," it adds. "Cook appears to view litigation as a necessary evil, not a vehicle of cosmic revenge."

In Walter Isaacson's authorized biography on Steve Jobs released last year, the late Apple co-founder viewed Google's Android operating system as a "stolen" product, making it a personal mission to wipe it out.

"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," Jobs told Isaacson. "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

As Bloomberg points out in its story, the company began that odyssey indirectly, filing suit not at Google, but first at HTC, and later expanding its efforts to Samsung. The story focuses on the oddity of that effort given that Apple remains Samsung's biggest customer, and that its components have been the distinctive features of Apple's products, including the latest iPad.

Apple has struck cross-licensing agreements with foes in the past. That includes a patent deal with Microsoft as part of its investment in Apple in 1997, as well as one with Nokia in 2011 that gave the both companies the option to license certain patents from one another.