Tim Cook Might Abandon Steve Jobs' 'Thermonuclear War' On Android

steve jobs

Photo: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Top Apple executives have met with top Samsung executives about settling their patent fights, Paul Barrett at Bloomberg Businessweek reports.Barrett writes, “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.”

In Walter Isaacson’s biography on Steve Jobs, he revealed that Jobs said, “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” He also said, “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.”

After the book came out we spoke briefly with Isaacson about those comments. He said Jobs’ preferred method of attack on Android was the legal system. (We’ve always thought this odd, and somewhat pathetic. There are better ways to win a war against Android, no?)

Apple has been attacking Android partners like HTC and Samsung in the courts, trying to say they make copy cat products that infringe on Apple’s patents.

Barrett has a long look at the legal back and forth, and seems to conclude that Apple’s case is weak.

Apple is arguing that Samsung ripped off its iPhone design because both companies have phones that are, “a rectangular product with four evenly rounded corners, a flat clear face covering the front of the product, [and] a large display screen under the clear surface.”

Every smartphone looks like that now. And a lot of phones looked like that before the iPhone. It’s hard for Apple to actually assert any legal right to that design.

As a result, it’s not winning many of its patent cases. And that’s partially why Apple’s executives are considering abandoning Apple’s “thermonuclear war” on Android.

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