Cook on Apple’s relationship with Samsung: ‘It’s awkward’

Apple CEO Cook Interview

Give Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook credit for being fairly upfront about his company’s strained relationship with component supplier and smartphone rival Samsung (005930). When asked by Bloomberg Businessweek this week whether things had changed between the companies after engaging in nonstop patent feuds with one another, Cook admitted that “life is a complex thing sometimes, and yes, it’s awkward.” Cook also reiterated his “hate” for patent litigation but said that after trying to work with rivals to resolve things amicably, he felt that Apple had no other option but to sue.

“What we would like, in a perfect world, is for everyone to invent their own stuff,” he said. “We love competition. But we want people to have their own ideas and invent their own stuff. So after lots of trying, we felt we had no other choice. We tried every other avenue, and so we’ll see what happens in the future.”

Cook also dismissed the idea that litigation between the two companies would make it impossible for them to work together in any capacity and said that Apple works with its rivals all the time.

“For years we have worked with people who we also compete with,” he said. “I mean, Microsoft (MSFT) is an example. They provide Office, and so they’re a developer-partner, but they’re also a competitor. Intel (INTC) is a partner on the Mac, but they are obviously trying to get into the mobile business. So it’s not different for us. It’s not unique. It’s not the first time where we have competed and cooperated. This is something that we get up every day doing. The thing that is different is the added litigation burden. I hope this works out over time.”

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