The multi-billion dollar legal war with Samsung would not have taken place had Apple CEO Tim Cook had his way, with reports claiming the current chief exec was against Apple founder Steve Jobs’ “thermonuclear” war with its Korean rival. Cook, who was Apple’s Chief Operating Officer until he was made CEO, was supposedly concerned about Samsung’s vital role as a parts supplier, Reuters reports, which has become critical to Apple’s operations.
According to anonymous insiders familiar with Apple and Samsung’s troubled history, Steve Jobs was quick to anger when he believed Samsung was copying iPhone and iPad strategy for its own Galaxy series. Cook’s concerns regarding parts supply stability arose then, the sources say, though it’s unclear to what extent the yet-to-be-CEO acted upon them.
Perhaps surprisingly, the attitude between the two companies – beyond the public relations rhetoric – is actually said to be reasonably calm. Legal experts with access to both firms claim “the temperature isn’t that high,” likely a side-effect of the fact that, legal battle aside, Apple and Samsung are still heavily locked into each others’ businesses.
Those businesses see Samsung – a major player in the NAND flash industry – continue to supply memory for Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and other devices, as well as manufacturing the ARM-based chips that power those devices. However, the privileged position of chip co-designer has been lost, and there has been long-standing speculation that TSMC will usurp Samsung’s role as processor manufacturer.
Cook’s public comments on legal matters have been more reserved than those of the outspoken Steve Jobs. Speaking to NBC last December, the CEO said that Apple “loves competition” as it “makes us all better,” though did reiterate that Apple “wants people to invent their own stuff.”