Apple and Google are bringing out the white flags. A landmark decision has been reached between the two Silicon Valley giants to drop their patent lawsuits against each other, specifically with regards to Google’s Motorola Mobility.
“Apple and Google have agreed to dismiss all the current lawsuits that exist directly between the two companies,” said both companies in a joint statement. “Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform. The agreement does not include a cross license.”
The “cross license” bit means that Apple and Google won’t be licensing patents to each other. When HTC and Apple settled their patent disputes a couple of years ago, they agreed to license between each other outside of a court ruling.
Motorola and Apple have been in and out of court since 2010. When Google bought Motorola in 2011, the war waged on.
Steve Jobs famously said that he was willing to “go thermonuclear war” on Google for stealing designs from the iPhone and putting them in Android. In an email to Apple employees in 2010, Jobs laid out that one of the company’s key strategies going forward was to wage “Holy War with Google.
Google is still in the process of selling Motorola to Lenovo, but most of Motorola’s patents will stay with Google after Motorola is completely sold off.
The elephant in the room is Samsung
The elephant in the room is Samsung. Apple just won against Samsung again in a second trial and was awarded $120 million in damages. Google helped pay for part of Samsung’s legal costs because Samsung’s mobile devices run on Android. It will be interesting to see how Apple and Google’s decision to settle plays out with regards to Samsung in the future.