Apple and Google have been fighting it out over patents ever since Android devices went on sale. Until today, that involved more than 20 ongoing lawsuits (in the US and Germany) between the two technology behemoths. In a joint statement earlier today, Apple and Google have announced all that is over. They will be ending the patent cases and will instead work to reform patent law.

This certainly sounds great, but it's probably not as significant as you're imagining. Apple and Google aren't entering into any sort of cross-licensing agreement. They simply won't fight about patents in the courts anymore. This deal ends direct litigation between Apple and Google, but also the cases between Apple and Motorola (which it still technically owns). What it does not do is end any of the cases Apple has pending against other Android OEMs.

While Apple and Google are technically calling it quits in the courtroom, Google is still doing battle with a company Apple owns a piece of. The Rockstar Consortium was formed by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony to acquire the Nortel patents in 2011. Rockstar sued Google last year with those patents in hand, and those cases will continue to run their course.

Neither company has gone into detail about why now was the time for a truce, but it's probably due to a variety of factors. Apple likely doesn't see patent suits as a viable way to combat Android's rise anymore – Android has risen. It's done. The recent Samsung judgment awarded Apple only $119 million in damages, which is hardly worth its time. These cases aren't cheap, after all. Google is also selling Motorola to Lenovo, which makes it a much less attractive target for lawsuits (although Moto actually started that one). Google itself faced resistance in the EU for some of its Motorola cases, which largely revolved around FRAND patents that are required for interoperability.

Whatever the reason, it's good to see Apple and Google playing nice. Let's just see how long it lasts.


Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • ih8legal


  • Sam Del Valle

    -plays Why Cant We Be Friends?-

  • Js__

    That was unexpected, but very nice to see!

  • MeCampbell30

    My skepticism level is high.

    • furry

      At least there's no contradiction, lol

  • shark

    great!! now if those two get together effectively no other company will come up... I'm sure they thought "Look! between the two of us we have all the patents to ensure no one else can even enter the market. Let's Marry!"

    • Ricky

      This is called monopolization, which is illegal in the US, and I'm sure other countries. If they were to do that, they'd lose a large portion of their business. Apple suing Google to prevent the rise of Android is an example of Apple trying to keep any other devices out of the market (which really could be considered illegal in the sense of it still trying to create a monopoly).

      • Kevin

        Like Comcast and Timewarner?

      • Gregory Speers

        Anti monopoly laws are a joke. Just look around and see almost everything made, grown or sold these days is by a few huge companies and it will only get worse as time goes by.

        • dude

          Yep, Pfizer is a good example.

      • mustafa

        It would he a duopoly, not a monopoly. Loophole?

  • br_hermon

    This isn't the end all, be all but it's a good start. Looks like the thermal nuclear war is winding down, though not quite ending with the outcome that Steve wanted. He must be rolling over and over and over in his grave right about now.

  • http://steamcommunity.com/id/metallinatus Metallinatus

    The "Will Work Together On Patent Reform Instead" was actually the most incredible and happy part of this news!

    • abobobilly

      ... in theory.

      • Gator352

        A way to steal legally? :)

  • Randy Strye

    i had to sit here and think "is it april fools?"

    • shitbox fangay

      Its may

      • Randy Strye


      • Woe, Is [S]unjay

        That is the joke....

      • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

        Look out, we got ourselves a Columbo here.

    • Ryan

      I was the same way. I thought I had to get my eyes checked if I even read the title right...

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        • ScottDooley


    • shonangreg

      I've held off on buying any Apple products primarily because of the lawsuits. Finally I'll have an alternative to Windows for a mainstream, well-supported, robust "offline" computer OS.

      • Walkop

        I don't really see why AOSP doesn't fill that role.

        KitKat flies—FLIES—on my 2-year old Nexus 10 with AOSP KitKat, you don't even need Google Apps. I use em', but you don't need them. Everything works totally offline, even Google Docs/Sheets. Haven't had a single hang, freeze, or reboot.

        • blumpkinator

          he was talking about a COMPUTER OS. Not a mobile OS.

          • Walkop

            That was my confusion. I was thinking he meant Windows Phone.

            Still, it led to an interesting conversation :D

        • shonangreg

          Drivers. When you get a Windows computer, you're pretty much guaranteed any computer hardware will work with it. And if you go with Mac, you just have a subset of that community, but basically every need has an offering that will work with a Mac.

          With android, we have not accomplished this, and not much of a deal has been made about cases where there has been progress (like recently with USB audio). Only otaku know what is even possible with android in terms of connecting peripherals.

          Android also remains frustratingly inept at some things. Just selecting text is a pain. Disappearing keyboards and tiny, unchangeable text windows recur.

          And then google's (gOS?) is split in two. Chrome is for notebooks, but android has more apps and is still more robustly functional, especially while offline. gOS needs some leadership. They need someone with a will-rounded artistic talent at the helm -- someone who envisions these projects and then whips everyone else into shape in order to match his or her vision. I love google, but they have neither the leadership nor the artistic vitality at the top.

          Now that Apple and Google are starting to work together, if this continues, then having a Mac as a notebook PC is the obvious choice. Nothing else is a complete package. (I seem to be talking myself into this more and more...)

      • Chris Caldwell

        LOL must be a troll. nobody is this dumb

    • Glich

      i wake up.. see this and have to do a pinch check i am acccualy awake or am i haveing a dream,

  • Stanley C.

    If steve Jobs was still alive, this will never happen...

    • AbbyZFresh

      Tim Cook is too busy turning Apple into a fashion company(Beats acquisition) and short term blowup profits to care about Jobs's legacy anymore. Time to move on.

      • Mozaik

        Same as Google , hiring fashion designers for Google glass.

      • Neill Smith

        Apple has always been a fashion company at least in part.

    • shitbox fangay

      Fyi, steve jobs start this BS about patent, rounded corner, and "look and fell" thing. He was stil alive back there in 2010 when the famous appletard inc start to sue samsung over stupid patent.

    • Jonathan Campbell

      Excellent use of conditional phrasing.

    • http://liveinalux.com/ mankulito

      then i must say - thank god he is not here anymore.

    • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

      If adolf Hitler was still alive, this will never happen...

  • shitbox fangay

    Appletard inc. Never invent anything but the no. 1 butthurt company about patent.....

    • socalbigdog

      Do us all a favor and hit the bottle a little harder so you pass out. You are clearly not contributing anything to thus comment section half inebriated.

  • AbbyZFresh

    Unfortunately, this does not mean Samsung is off the hook yet in Apple's case. If anything, this makes them look worse as they probably expected Apple to take them to court once again. But it seems far less likely with this settlement with Motorola.

  • remister

    Where's the hidden fine print at?

  • matt

    Didn't Steve Jobs say once that he was willing to spend billions to destroy Android for stealing from Apple? I think Steve would have kept the litigation going.

    • Stanley C.

      I think so. And Before he died I think he saw Android market domination... and apple declination...

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        It was obvious that Apple would start it's long-term downfall after Jobs' death, and it was also obvious to Steve himself, "history repeats itself" and all.

      • krazyfrog

        The company makes more money every fucking quarter yet these dumb comments on Apple's 'downfall' never stop. Just because Android is growing faster does not mean Apple is going down.

        • MikeJwF

          Apple is a nitch market, and always will be.

          • matt

            Not sure what a nitch market is. It certainly isn't a niche market, because Apple is way too big and widespread to be a niche market.

          • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

            They focus on a big nitch.

          • ThomasMoneyhon

            Apple forces the niche to the high end. It's by design. When you refuse to make affordable phones sighting you only make premium products you can't dominate like Samsung does. EU and USA may love apple but the third world has higher population and apples cheapest phone is $700 in China. Apple doesn't want to be mainstream with actions like that.

          • josuearisty

            They dont want to be mainstream with actions like that but they would like to be mainstream anyway.

    • Artyte

      The late Jobs was a tyrant. Even his biography described him well. Times have changed. This news makes me feel a sense of ease.

      • Glich

        If you think jobs was tyrant read "The everything store" its about Jeff Bezzo of amazon. after reading it i will never work for Amazon but i will keep buying a ton from them.

        • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

          If that's the one I'm thinking of, it was also written by someone who basically interviewed a shit load of disgruntled ex-employees. So while it might still all be true, you can't take it as gospel in the same way you can with the Jobs book.

    • David Miller

      Apple stole from Android. Apple is not able to find innovations by themselves. Only Apple fanboys can think they created anything... Apple should be dead today...
      This new "Friendship" is just a new way Apple found to steal more form Android !

      • bummpr

        Oh David...time for your meds!

    • Chris Caldwell

      sad truth is, Apple hasnt actually done anything in years. The patents they buy arent even all that great anymore. Eventually they just run out of IP to sue with and then what? Why, of course, they try to strike a truce with the biggest guy on the playground so nobody will come take back their lunch money.

  • shitbox fangay

    Aplletard inc. was already on my blacklist. I wont buy any of their shitty product, nor buying it for anyone else.

  • MaryJane

    Maybe now we can have peace in the middle east

    • o.O

      No there are still to much oil and opium/heroin to profit from.

  • dogulas

    Hopefully this turns out to be true in practice. Sounds too good to be true.

  • mmmmmbop

    I just have to think this is one of those points in time that Apple will look back at and kick themselves. With lenovo running the show at Motorola now, and the success they have been experiencing lately with the moto g, I predict Moto will be selling more phones than apple in the near future.

  • mbcls

    aren't they going to release a bigger iPhone? people might get confused and thought they buying a Galaxy!

    • Benjamin Keller

      Haha, best comment in months on Android Police

  • Alphajoe

    After Amazon patented the only way Apple takes pictures, they had to choose one enemy. ;)

    Seriously, I hope this is as good as it sounds.

    • Android Developer

      Can you please put a link about what you are talking about?

      • Alphajoe

        I was joking about the absurd patent amazon was granted, as Apple regularly uses plain white backgrounds for its photographies: http://www.theverge.com/2014/5/8/5696356/amazon-inexplicably-granted-patent-for-common-photography-flash-setup

        • Android Developer

          There is a patent for white background?!

          • Alphajoe

            If you weren't convinced that the US patent system is ridiculous, I assume you are now.

          • Android Developer

            But it's weird even from the company - Why would any company even bother set patents on such general ideas?

          • dude

            Profit and monopoly.

          • Android Developer

            but won't it cost them being ridiculed by the public for such actions ?

  • http://yohanesmario.com Yohanes Mario Chandra

    I really hope this lasts.. I hate seeing people fight over preference..

    • Sarah Login

      Consumers are still going to be fanboys who squabble over which is better.

      • http://yohanesmario.com Yohanes Mario Chandra

        I'm just hoping that this move will at least stop the arguments about patent. The other arguments will likely still be going. :p

  • Android Developer

    What about the rest of the companies Apple is suing (especially Samsung) ?
    Maybe Apple gave up on Google just because it also has a lot of patents.

    • http://platypus.blox.pl/ najodleglejszy

      not reading the article very much?
      "What it does not do is end any of the cases Apple has pending against other Android OEMs."

      • Android Developer

        I already know this, hence the second sentence that talks about Google alone (because it has a lot of patents, as opposed to Samsung).
        This seems to be more of the reason than really trying to work together.

  • Sophia Patel
  • David Miller

    Is this a joke ? A good company as Android working with cheaters as Apple ??? Apple will now steal more and more form Android...

    • Gator352

      As long as the price of my phones don't rise, they can steal anything they want....

  • LiquidFire3D.com

    Yeah I'll believe that when Android's fly.


    Well maybe not even then lol.

  • Pedro O Raposo

    I cried laughing.

  • Sruly J

    Read this in the New York Times. It made my day

  • Suman Gandham

    Didn't realise it was the 1st of April today...

  • kamiller42

    Now that Apple is preparing to release new iPhones with Android like features they want to bury the hatchet? This is no April Fools joke. This is Apple preparing the way.

  • Neill Smith

    Wow, Steve Jobs really is dead.

  • Chris Caldwell

    *Apple*: Hey, we, uh, dont actually have anything worth suing for anymore since we havent really done anything in 10 years. How bout we
    wont sue you for, whatever, and you, the center of all innovation, dont
    sue us?

    *Google*: um, sure. Who are you again?