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Apple and Google in talks to end patent war?

Jobsian jihad could be over by Christmas

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The heads of Apple and Google are said to be in talks to try and find a solution to the current patent war over the Android operating system.

Much like President Obama, Apple CEO Tim Cook inherited a some-would-say pointless war from his predecessor, but unlike the politicians it seems the techies are willing to try "jaw, jaw, rather than war, war," to quote Winston Churchill.

Reuters reports that Cook and Google CEO Larry Page already had one extensive phone call last week to try and settle their differences, with another that was scheduled for this week but cancelled for unspecified reasons. Meanwhile, lower corporate minions are working on a series of discussion points for the two.

It's not clear if these talks are just about the Android operating system and its similarities to iOS, or if the two are looking at a broader non-aggression pact. Apple may have won $1.05bn in damages from Samsung in court last week, but the Koreans look set to take the issue right to the Supreme Court – and that's a lot of legal bills and bad publicity for Apple.

Similarly, Android OEMs need a bit of stability in their lives. Tim Cook warned the industry that Apple has taken heart from the Samsung verdict and has other companies in its sights, and Larry Page could be willing to come to some sort of deal with Apple that would stave off further legal action.

Steve Jobs famously declared "thermonuclear war" on Google and its ilk over what he saw as the theft of Apple's UI, kicking off a range of legal battles that have made lawyers very rich but haven't done that much for the image of Apple as the cuddly innovative upstart for those who "Think Different".

Jobs was reportedly outraged that Eric Schmidt, who sat on Apple's board, didn't recuse himself from key meetings that discussed iOS. Schmidt resigned in 2009 and stepped down from the CEO role at Google last year.

With both protagonists gone, it may be that both companies have decided the time has come to bury the hatchet. Apple's the most valuable company in the world, but Google's not short of funds, and a protracted legal war could prove very expensive. ®

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