updated 03:14 pm EDT, Thu August 30, 2012
High-level discussions aimed at mitigating patent feud
Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Larry Page are said to have been engaged in behind-the-scenes discussions aimed at resolving the ongoing patent struggle between the two companies. According to Reuters, Page and Cook's talks are part of a larger effort in which lower-level officials have also met with the goal of achieving some sort of detente between the erstwhile technology partners. The exact scope of Page and Cook's talks is unknown; they could focus on a limited set of issues or they could be working out a broader settlement of many disputes.
Page and Cook are said to have had a phone conversation last week, and they are expected to speak again in the coming weeks. Sources claim that communication lines between the two companies have been kept open despite the ongoing legal struggles between Apple and a number of manufacturers of devices running Google's Android operating system, as well as claims made by Google-owned Motorola against Apple.
Apple's previous CEO, the late Steve Jobs, believed that Google had "wholesale ripped [Apple's iOS] off," with Android. Jobs famously vowed that he was "willing to go thermonuclear war" in order to destroy Android.
The Cook-Page talks open a number of possibilities for conflict resolution, even though details are sketchy as to how willing to work with each other the two executives may be. Sources indicate that it is possible the two might work out an agreement wherein certain basic functions in Android might come under the umbrella of a truce, though what shape such an agreement would take is still unclear.
Apple, for its part, is coming off of a sizable judgement against Samsung, the number one manufacturer of Android smartphones. The iPad maker hopes to parlay that victory into sales bans on Samsung products. Apple has also been moving to excise Google products from its iOS platform wherever possible, including maps, search, and video.