Google’s Larry Page and Apple’s Tim Cook Talking Over Patent Issues

The top executives at Apple and Google are holding discussions regarding patent disputes involving the two leading technology companies, said a person with knowledge of the talks.

According to Reuters, Google CEO Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook have been chumming it up, engaging in behind-the-scenes talks over each of their company’s intellectual properties. Photo: Andrea Vascellari/Flickr

Apple and Google may hold off going ‘thermonuclear’ on each other after their chief executives spoke over the phone about their patent dispute, according to a Reuters report Thursday that cites “a person with knowledge of the talks.”

Larry Page and Tim Cook, chief executives of Google and Apple, respectively, have been talking over the phone regarding the intellectual property issues between the two companies. The conversation took place last week, according to Reuter’s sources.

The two executives are expected to continue their discussion in the coming weeks, although there is no firm date set. While last week’s conversation did not result in any formal agreement, Page and Cook agreed to continue their discussion. Supposedly, a meeting between Page and Cook was scheduled for Friday, but was delayed for unknown reasons.

The two companies are keeping lines of communication open at a high level against the backdrop of Apple’s legal victory in a patent infringement case against Samsung Electronics, which uses Google’s Android software.

Last Friday U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages and set the stage for a possible ban on sales of eight Samsung mobile devices in a case that has been widely viewed as a ‘proxy war’ between Apple and Google.

“The court of appeals will review both infringement and the validity of the patent claims,” Google’s representation said regarding to the Apple-Samsung verdict. “Most of these don’t relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the US Patent Office.”

He continued: “The mobile industry is moving fast and all players – including newcomers – are building upon ideas that have been around for decades. We work with our partners to give consumers innovative and affordable products, and we don’t want anything to limit that.”

Many believed that Apple would go after Google following its victory over Samsung, based on what the company’s iconic CEO, Steve Jobs, told biographer Walter Isaacson for his book released last year.

“I am going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this,” Steve Jobs said. “They are scared to death, because they know they are guilty.”

Though the general topic of Page and Cook’s discussion was patent issues, according to the anonymous sources, it is unknown what specifically was discussed. Whether they were discussing a truce over basic features in Android, as one source claimed, or settlement of disputes of varying depth, has not been revealed.

Competition between Google and Apple has heated up in recent months with the shift from PCs to mobile devices. Google’s Android software, which Apple’s late founder Steve Jobs denounced as a “stolen product,” has become the world’s No.1 smartphone operating system.

The latest complaint was filed by Motorola Mobility, now a unit of Google, against Apple at the U.S. International Trade Commission claiming some features of Apple’s devices infringe on its patents. A previous lawsuit between the two in a Chicago court was thrown out by a federal judge, who said neither side could prove damages.

Apple in recent months has moved to lessen its reliance on Google’s products. Apple recently unveiled its own mobile mapping software, replacing the Google product used in the iPhone, and said it would no longer offer Google’s YouTube as a pre-loaded app in future versions of its iPhone.

Apple shares fell 1.4 percent to close at $663.87 Thursday. The stock has risen 64 percent this year. Google fell 0.9 percent to $681.68. It has gained 5.5 percent this year.

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