Tim Cook was reportedly against Samsung lawsuit, but does that matter now?


It sounds like Apple’s Tim Cook might not have been as emotionally vested in the war against Android as the late Steve Jobs was — after all, Apple’s fearless leader nursed that baby from the ground up. According to Reuters, Tim Cook was a bit more level-headed about his approach to the Samsung-Apple beef, reportedly being against suing Samsung due to the Korean manufacturer’s important role as a major parts supplier for the iPhone, iPad, and several Mac products.

Assuming all of that is true, does it make a difference now? Steve Jobs didn’t take heed to any warning Tim Cook might have given him, and now that Apple’s fully engaged in a full-blown patent war with Samsung (and other OEMs) it doesn’t seem like there is any interest in stopping.

Apple enjoyed mild success early on as it got several of Samsung’s products banned, but the result of those decisions seemed ineffective. Samsung was able to either get the decision turned, replace the banned product with a non-infringing one, or the devices banned were already out of commission by the time Apple could deal any significant harm.

It seemed the Cupertino company might have struck gold here in the United States when Judge Lucy Koh granted Apple a series of wins that were to result in product bans, including for the fairly recent Galaxy Nexus, but her decision was quickly overturned by the higher powers of the court system. Her decisions were said to be shortsighted and an abuse of discretion. Apple was denied a second chance to ban the Galaxy Nexus late last month.

Without any meaningful victories or results for Apple it sounds like this silly “war” against Samsung isn’t going as easily as planned, and the company could be losing interest as Tim Cook — who has been known to be a lot more sensible and objective in his approach compared to the late founder of Apple — looks to tweak the company’s direction just a bit.

[via Reuters]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Tim Cook continues to be the anti-Jobs.
    I forget… how’d that work out for Apple last time?

    1. Apple was beginning its decline while Jobs was still in office. Also, most of the releases since his death were already pre-planned and on the roadmap months prior. Corporations have long roadmaps and the larger they are the less those roadmaps get changed, other than shifting products further down the road due to delays. I venture to say end of 2013 on will be new stuff. That’s the real test for Apple.

      Thus far the only real thing that has changed is the lack of a dbag figurehead with smelly dated clothes. People have Apple-fatigue and only figured it out after Jobs ended up in hell.

      1. After he ended up in hell? I love Android as much as the next guy, but you are taking this anti apple thing a little too seriously in my opinion.

  2. If that were true, they would have pulled out of the lawsuits as soon as Cook took office. You’re telling me the CEO of Apple cannot persuade the law firm IT hires to stop a lawsuit or an appeals process? Ok then.

    1. It does not work that way.
      Once you start the war you can’t just walk away.

    2. The report indicates that his objections were strategic, not ethical. Obviously, the strategic considerations changed significantly once Apple had actually begun the litigation.

  3. Apple is lucky that its supporters are as loyal as the ones that join cults. This is probably the only reason their products still sell. Because when it comes to innovation they are far behind the competition.

    1. Unfortunately there is a stale comfort level in Apple products. It’s like an abused spouse. They want to leave but can’t see their life outside their situation. Yeah a bit dramatic, but seriously, listen to people using Apple products. Ask Chris and his Mac Air. Ask friends who have iphones. “Oh but I have all of my contacts. I have the cloud. I have all of my purchases in iTunes. I still like the dated UI and gel icons in OSX.” Until people get a yearning to try something new, they’ll stick with their abusive relationship. :) Break the cycle!!!

  4. > Without any meaningful victories or results for Apple…

    So true. If you leave out that piddly little billion dollar judgment, it’s hard to find any positive results for Apple at all. Oh wait….

    1. I’m speaking in terms of product bans and major interruptions in sales. The $1 billion for Apple was but a small cherry on top of a much bigger cake (that cake being the goal of driving Samsung out of the market, or at least into relative irrelevancy). If you were to ask Apple whether they’d rather take the billion dollars or see Samsung chased out of the market, I’m sure they’d pick the latter 9 times out of 10.

      1. They would probably pick driving Samsung out ten times out of ten. Still, a billion dollars isn’t chump change. It seems kind of silly to write a column talking about how successful Apple has been with the lawsuits, and not to mention it.

      2. Psst. A billion dollar judgements qualifies as a meaningful victory. Keep that between you and me.

        1. Again, I was speaking in terms of product bans.

          1. May want to add those words to the sentence/statement then. Because what you actually wrote sounds a bit silly to anyone who has followed the war.

          2. Pssst. Speaking as someone in the litigation community…..

            A Billion Dollar judgment means exactly…nothing.

            Until it’s actually enforced, you have a nice shiny number you can wave around to your shareholders and fans to say “Look what we did,” and make it sound like you won. Later litigation could reduce and/or make the judgment un-enforceable or worthless.

            Fact is, the upper courts have already overturned Judge Koh and sent part of the case back for abuse of discretion; (which is a fancy way of the appeals court telling her she applied the law wrong. Not necessarily that she did any sort of misconduct) which also means that number can change, or when appealed be dismissed entirely depending on how Samsung appeals it or what part of her ruling they appeal. From what I’ve read, the ruling was turned back because she didn’t apply the Daubert principle correctly regarding expert witnesses. I could be wrong since information regarding the actual litigation is a little scarce, except for what has been released for public information. Tech and IP cases sometimes are very closed doors due to the nature of the subject matter.

            If they appeal the judgment amount, the appeals court could even completely invalidate the amount. It merely depends on what Samsung is setting up for the appeal.

          3. Psst. Speaking as someone in the internet community….

            Anonymous posters claiming to be experts in some industry are a dime a dozen and generally hard to take to seriously.

            Of course a Billion dollar judgment means something. Had Samsung won, that would have been a huge deal. The fact they didn’t win is a huge deal. Whether or not they have to pay a billion dollars (or even anything) out remains to be seen, but they don’t have a whole bunch of people working on this case because they agree with you that the Judgment means nothing.

            While you are correct that they probably won’t pay out that much money, the Judgment (at this point) is a major win for Apple. All the things you talk about may happen, but until they do, its foolish to categorize the result as “nothing”.

          4. Except for the fact that it has, in fact, done nothing. It has not stopped Samsung from selling any phones, it hasn’t yet resulted in them paying an award, it hasn’t stopped them from outpacing Apple in pretty much every way. I don’t care about Samsung (or Apple, for that matter), but that judgement did essentially nothing so far… and by the time it might actually be enforced, it will be even less likely to have any real teeth.

          5. You’re absolutely right. Which is why I didn’t claim to be an expert in the industry. If I was, I would be at an Ivy League School with a nice cushy job; not on an internet posting board. (To anyone with connections at Harvard or others, I am open to offers. Please see my agent.)

            Your argument about having bunches of people work on it really though is circular. Of course they have people working on it, because the main thrust was not damages from Samsung to Apple, but patents. Not fighting it means Samsung would have lost more than just money, and would have seen import bans, licensing royalties, etc etc Not defending themselves would have been the height of insanity; judgments or not. Damages are a natural extension from the suit, but Apple would rather prevent any imports from Samsung and win this case to make a stepping stone against other products that they would see as a natural derivative of products that Samsung manufactures. You notice that as soon as they won anything against an old phone, they went after the successors. Smart tactics from Apple, when you want to dismantle an entire area.

            Likewise it is foolish to claim that a mere judgment is a “victory” until the judgment becomes enforced. We will disagree on whether or not it means anything until the cheque is cut from Samsung to Apple I’m afraid.

            jackdubl If you are part of the legal community, great! You have better understanding of the cases than most then. I reiterate that a judgment means nothing. Yes, you are right, it’s the first step in the ladder to collections, but when you reach the top rung, you can’t go any higher. If an appeal court agrees with Samsung, goodbye judgment. So it means nothing. When it’s collected and enforceable, then it means something. As of right now, the enforceability hasn’t been contested, but I can make an educated prediction that it will be.


            Page 10 refers to the abuse of discretion with the unified search. Sadly, it’s on of the only documents I could find, since other documents haven’t been published yet. As I said earlier I may be wrong on some items. I’m not following this case on every twist and turn, because, well, my own work would suffer and I’m not being paid to work this case.

          6. And what makes you think I am not part of the legal community? Everything you say is true, except for the part about winning the trial and getting a judgement meaning nothing. It’s the first step in collecting the judgement. See, you can’t collect if you were never awarded a judgement in the first place. Actually, you are also wrong about why the case was remanded back to what’s her name, so maybe you were less right than I thought.

        2. IMO it’s a very meaningful Victory…….. for Samsung, not Apple. Big deal, a company with all kinds of money lost 1 billion dollars. You can’t buy this kind of publicity! Samsung products are doing better than ever.

      3. I feel that driving Samsung out of the market would deal a severe blow to the entire smart phone market. They are so deeply invested, supplying to parts to almost every manufacturer including Apple. They drive Samsung out, they drive one of the most innovative OEMs away. I always felt that the smart phone market will be severely injured with the loss of Samsung, but the market wouldn’t even flinch if Apple were to leave.

    2. The billion dollar judgement isn’t likely to be paid so why count it?

      1. Why do you think that? So far, the courts have been pretty clear about not tripling the damages, but not getting rid of them either.

        1. The case has already been appealed. Not sure how much the fine will be reduced though.

        2. At least a few of the patents in question seem to be getting invalidated, however, meaning appeals are likely to seriously reduce the damages… and more are currently under review.

    3. Remember, the stated aim of the endeavour was to litigate Android out of existence. Measured against that objective, it’s been a giant failure.

    4. There’s little value to a billion dollars if it takes you a billion and 1 dollars in lawyers’ fees to get it.

      1. Just to put into perspective how much money a billion dollars is.

        If Apple has 50 lawyers, each making $500/hour, and working on the case 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, it will take more then 4.5 years to hit a billion dollars in fees.

        1. Good thing they have 500 lawyers charging $650/hour and work 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. That way it’ll take just over one year to burn through that cash.

          1. Well, 14.2 months anyhow. More if they let them take off Christmas and Thanksgiving.

          2. They don’t take holidays off, but you would need to factor in holiday pay for those days. :)

          3. Which gets us back to your original estimate of “just over one year”. Well done.

          4. *fist pump*

            Thank you Sir :)

  5. Attacking the number one phone seller in the world isnt smart you just make more people hate you.

    1. Trolls are hated worse…

  6. Apple is still an inferior product. It stills sucks.

  7. Just enjoy your billions, Apple. Buy a small country, move all iSheeps there and build the religion of Apple-ism perhaps?

    1. Apple would never do that. They would need a bunch of Border-Collies to herd them to their pens for sheering.

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