Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Apple's War on Android

In her black robe and strand of white pearls, Lucy Koh projects the serious, deliberate demeanor befitting a U.S. District Court judge. The Harvard-educated former federal prosecutor has served on the California state bench and as a partner in a Silicon Valley law firm, where she litigated technology patent lawsuits. For all her earnestness, Koh, 43, could not resist needling the lawyers skirmishing before her at a hearing last June in San Jose.
“Last time you were here,” the judge noted, “you said that you had a business relationship—I forget what the number was—$8 million, $8 billion?”

“I think it was in excess of $7 billion,” said attorney Harold McElhinny. That’s how much McElhinny’s client, Apple (AAPL), pays annually for components made by Samsung Electronics (005930), the company Apple is suing for patent infringement. Apple is Samsung’s single biggest customer, responsible for 7.6 percent of the Korean company’s 2011 revenue of $109 billion. The dependence runs both ways: Apple’s absurdly lucrative iPad and iPhone operations would grind to a halt without Samsung’s parts. Yet here in Koh’s courtroom, the companies were bashing each other’s brains out.
Judge Lucy KohJudge Lucy Koh

“Seven billion,” Judge Koh mused. “Can we all just get along here? Can I send you out to ADR?” she wondered, referring to alternative dispute resolution, a form of private mediation. “I will send you with boxes of chocolates,” the judge said. “I mean, whatever.”

Click here to see the whole article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek

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