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Why Apple Would Settle With Google

Stocks in this article: AAPL GOOG

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Patent litigation has become as much a part of technology as the next hot gadget, but at least two heavyweights embroiled in a patent dispute, Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG), may be prepared to bury the hatchet.

Reuters reports that Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Larry Page have been in talks discussing the intellectual property issues between the companies, citing people familiar with the matter. Talks were held last week, the sources noted.

Patent litigation has been in the spotlight recently, with Apple winning a landmark case against Samsung over patents. A jury found Samsung guilty, and awarded Apple damages worth $1.05 billion. The judge who presided over the case, Judge Lucy Koh, has the right to increase the amount.

Samsung uses Google's Android operating system, so it may be in Google's best interest to settle with Apple. This could potentially limit any monetary outlays Google has to spend litigating, as well as potential awards that a jury might award Apple. Apple, for its part, would have less distractions to deal with, and could focus on product innovation, as opposed to product protection.

More talks between Cook and Page are expected to continue, according to the sources, but there's no love lost between the two companies. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs called Android a "stolen product", and vowed to declare "thermonuclear war" to fight it. Apple has also been reducing its reliance on Google properties in its iDevices. The company announced its own Apple Maps as part of its new mobile operating system, and recently announced it would stop pre-loading YouTube on future iPhones.

If a patent settlement or truce does come to fruition, this may well be the biggest achievement to hit the technology sector since the microchip.

Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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