Unlike “Thermonuclear” Steve Jobs, Apple CEO Tim Cook Says He’d Rather Settle Litigation

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Looks like Tim Cook doesn’t quite want to go as “thermonuclear” on rival phone makers as Apple founder Steve Jobs did. Cook didn’t sound so eager to pursue patent infringement suits against Samsung, Motorola and HTC on today’s quarterly earnings call.

“I’d highly prefer to settle versus battle,” Cook said on Apple’s earnings call today. “But you know the key thing that’s very important is that Apple doesn’t become the developer to the world.” He added very pointedly, “I’ve always hated litigation. We need people to invent their own stuff.”

His words are at odds with what iconic Apple founder Steve Jobs in Walter Isaacson’s biography:

“Google, you f–king ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off. Grand theft.”

“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 isn’t the first time Apple has indicated it would go in a less litigious direction. In a great overview that Bloomberg Businessweek published last month, Paul Barrett wrote, “Cook does not seem to share his predecessor’s passion about laying all foes to waste. Cook appears to view litigation as a necessary evil, not a vehicle of cosmic revenge.”