Apple chief executive Tim Cook has hinted that the company may be willing to end the series of punishing patent disputes going on in courtrooms across the globe.
During the company's latest financial presentation, Cook told analysts and journalists that he would prefer to reach a settlement than continue fighting.
“If we could get to some kind of arrangement where we could be assured that's the case – a fair settlement had occurred – I'd highly prefer to settle versus battle,” he said.
That statement contrasts sharply with the promise from Apple's previous chief executive, the late Steve Jobs, to launch “thermonuclear war” on the Android platform.
"I've always hated litigation," Cook said.
Nevertheless, patent lawyers need not lose too much sleep over any imminent outbreak of peace. Cook added that part of his definition of a “fair settlement' included being satisfied that competitors were not stealing Apple's ideas.
“The key thing is that Apple not become the developer for the world. We need people to invent their own stuff,” he said.
Apple's new-found openness to settling patent disputes will get its first test within the next three months.
Last week, a US court ordered Cook and his lawyers to meet with representatives from Samsung, in a bid to settle a patent-related dispute before the case goes to a full trial.
Apple is engaged in a series of patent disputes with HTC, Samsung and Motorola Mobility in various countries across the globe.
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