Apple and Google are stepping back from the brink of thermonuclear patent war.
Google chief Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook picked up the red phone to negotiate their mobile-phone dispute, according to various reports.
The sides appeared ready to talk in the face of mutually assured destruction — or at least mutually assured legal fees.
“Finally they are getting their acts together,” said Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with Global Equities Research. “Mobile devices are very complex devices. No one company owns all the intellectual property that goes into making a mobile phone.”
Apple owns a number of design and user-interface patents, and Google owns a portfolio of communications and network-related patents, mostly thanks to its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility.
Apple already struck a deal with Google in Germany for certain licensing rights. That deal comes just weeks before Apple launches its next iPhone, which is expected to run on 4G networks that offer speedier Internet. Samsung is expected to sue Apple over 4G patents.
Reuters first reported yesterday that Apple and Google are in direct patent talks and plan more next week. “Probably Larry Page said to him, ‘Use common sense, Mr. Cook,’” Chowdhry said. “Without 4G LTE patents, the next iPhone will probably be dead on arrival.”
Apple has been waging a mobile crusade since ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt sat on the firm’s board during the iPhone’s development phase.
Schmidt left Apple’s board when Google decided to get into mobile-phone software, leading Steve Jobs, who died last year, to call for thermonuclear war against Google.
Apple last week beat Samsung, the top manufacturer of Google’s Android phones, in a jury trial over design patents related to the iPhone.