Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Larry Page have had a ‘behind the scenes’ discussion about patent issues, but the details of those discussions are unclear, reports Reuters. The report says that Cook and Page are talking about “about a range of intellectual property matters, including the ongoing mobile patent disputes between the companies.”
The two chief executives had a phone conversation last week, the sources said. Discussions involving lower-level officials of the two companies are also ongoing.
Page and Cook are expected to talk again in the coming weeks, though no firm date has been set, the sources said. One source told Reuters that a meeting was scheduled for this Friday, but had been delayed for reasons that were unclear.
The report attributes the Samsung trial for the “lines of communication” being kept open between the two CEOs.
The fact that the CEOs had a phone conversation about intellectual property seems to be the nut of the report. The rest of it is speculation about the scale of the talks or the motivations behind them. Remember that Cook had talks with Samsung’s CEO before the patent trial even commenced, court ordered ones, and no agreement was reached. So don’t take this as a mending of fences just yet.
Considering how vague the report is, I wouldn’t even assume the talks are about resolving the issues surrounding IP disagreements between the companies, though anything is possible.
Apple and Google’s history of patent cold-war
“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,” Apple founder Steve Jobs told his biographer, Walter Isaacson. ”I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this.”
Those comments were made by Jobs because he percieved Android to have stolen key features of the iPhone and its operating system. He told his biographer that he would spend every penny of Apple’s money to ‘right this wrong’. Jobs reportedly told Google’s Eric Schmidt, “I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I don’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want.”
Apple’s enormous victory over Samsung in its huge patent trial has some, though not sweeping, implications for Android. Apple has yet to outright challenge Google on Android, though it is involved in several legal disputes with Motorola, which Google announced plans to purchase late last year.
The long and short of it is that two CEOs chatting on the phone about patents does not a long history of angst resolve. We’ll just have to wait and see if any chats between the two have a real effect on their patent battles.