As the Gordian knot of Apple's seemingly endless patent disputes with competitors twists into a messier situation with every passing day, the tech company has brandished a blade capable of slicing through the tangle and solving the problem once and for all: a cash settlement.
According to Dow Jones Newswires, Apple offered both Motorola Mobility and Samsung, both makers of Android-supported devices, the opportunity to settle any pending litigation over the patent claims "in exchange for royalty payments to license its patents."
The settlement terms essentially mean that Apple would be licensing their patents to its two rivals; Samsung and Motorola, meanwhile, would give up all claims to the patents.
So how much is Apple hoping to collect from this bounty? The company has asked for $5 to $15 of every handheld device sold, which roughly equates 1-2.5% of net sales per unit.
Let's math this out a bit more to extrapolate a fuller idea of how much Apple is asking for in this settlement offer. For example, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has been a contentious device between Samsung and Apple insofar patent claims go. As of this past July, Samsung's tablet reportedly sold over 800,000 devices in the United States. Were Samsung to take Apple's offer on a cash settlement of $15 per device sold, Samsung would be writing Apple a check to the fat sum of $12 million. And that's just for one device in one country. Add in the plethora of other devices made by Samsung and Motorola sold worldwide that would fall into the net of the litigious patent claim, the total bounty that Apple would stand to collect on this settlement would be in the hundreds of millions.
While the settlement would heavily pad the pockets of Apple, one has to wonder if such an offer would ever have been extended before the Tim Cook era. TalkAndroid reminds us of how former Apple boss Steve Jobs felt about the alleged patent infringement of rival companies.
I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong, I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.
It's highly doubtful that Samsung or Motorola would accept the terms of Apple's offer, but still. Even a half-hearted gesture like this signifies a deep, strategic change in the way Apple takes on its competitors.