Tim Cook Supposedly Against the Legal War vs. Samsung; Overruled by Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs took Apple to a "thermonuclear" war against Samsung back in 2011 over supposed copying of Apple's products. Here we are in 2013, and even after a few key victories, Apple is no better off than before. In fact, it could be argued that the war in the courtroom has done nothing but help Samsung, by giving them free advertising and building their internal resolve. From the beginning, all Apple sought was a way to block Samsung's products from entering the market. Despite the $1 Billion dollar verdict against Samsung, none of Apple's legal battles have actually stunted the growth of Samsung's mobile branding.
An interesting report from Reuters hints at a future that might have been. Supposedly, Apple's current CEO Tim Cook was opposed to the lawsuits against Samsung to begin with. The main reason Cook didn't want to go to war with Samsung was because of Apple's critical relationship with them for parts and technology. This includes everything from memory, to processors, to displays.
Interestingly, both Jobs and Cook agreed that Samsung's new Galaxy S product line was a problem because it appeared to be at least an indirect copy based upon what Samsung had learned from Apple while supplying them with parts. They contacted Samsung's executives and voiced their displeasure, counting on their relationship to convince Samsung to alter the designs of their Galaxy Tab that seemed the most like Apple's iPad. Samsung proceeded anyway. In the end, Jobs grew impatient and fired the first shot of the courtroom war, overruling Cook's concerns about harming the mutual relationship.
Ironically, it appears that this massive war that has dominated the journalistic landscape for the past two years may actually not have hurt the relationship between the two companies as much as most people believe. One attorney who supposedly is knowledgeable on the matter said, "People play this stuff up because it shows a kind of drama, but the business reality is that the temperature isn't that high." That's not to say that Apple is staying in a position to be wholly dependent on Samsung. They have taken a few steps to at least reduce their dependency, like possibly switching to TSMC for their processors. Still, Samsung is the dominant supplier of crucial flash memory chips that Apple needs, and this is not likely to change for quite some time.
In the end, it obviously matters very little that Tim Cook was supposedly against the courtroom war. Hindsight, as the saying goes, is twenty-twenty. In the long run, it certainly looks like the only thing Apple achieved was filling the pockets of patent lawyers. In fact, despite this report, it's hard not to wonder one thing... if Tim Cook was really that opposed to the courtroom warfare against Samsung, then why hasn't he reigned it in after Steve Jobs' death?