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Apple Reportedly Conciliatory (Don’t Bet on It)

The Wall Street Journal says Apple has made overtures to Samsung and Motorola Mobility

Its lawyers having wracked up mixed results seeking injunctions, Apple is supposedly ready to go back on its late chief Steve Jobs' blood oath to wage "thermonuclear war" on Android for copying Apple's widgetry and settle some of the legion of infringement suits it has filed against Android pushers.

Quoting "people familiar with the matter," the Wall Street Journal says Apple has made overtures to Samsung and Motorola Mobility, offering to license at least some of the patents they need to compete for the price of a royalty.

The paper suggests there are "other terms" without saying what they may be.

Couching what it's been hearing, the Journal said, no one "could confirm if settlement talks are currently taking place, but say this is part of an ongoing process."

Apple had discussion with Samsung, one of its major suppliers, before it sued the Korean company, now an Android leader.

FOSS Patents thinks what the paper is hearing are echoes of Apple's stated willingness (in some court papers in Australia) to license Samsung "low-level" patents, nothing that distinguishes its widgetry and nothing that would really soften Jobs' curse but the kind of thing regulators like to hear. The blog also suspects the "other terms" it refers to are restrictions as to use.

The paper was told that Apple, which has close to $100 billion in the bank, isn't interested in the royalty business - something Jobs reportedly told Google's Eric Schmidt before he died.

However, any royalty would add to the cost of the nominally free open source Android operating system.

Apple reportedly wanted $5-$15 a handset for some patents in one negotiation with Motorola, roughly 1% to 2.5% of the sales price of the device. Motorola has been criticized for asking for 2.25% of net sales per device from Apple for patents considered essential for creating wireless devices, which is entirely different.

Like FOSS Patents blog, the Journal has doubts about Apple's legal strategy and the narrow patents it's claimed are infringed and its rivals can work around. But FOSS, which cautions anyone about holding their breath waiting for a settlement, figures Apple is still identifying its strongest IP and is getting more.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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