Before iPhone 5 was launched in September, Apple won a historic jury ruling in its favour and against Samsung. It was then also reported that Apple executives were having rounds of discussions with Google executives and a speculation was that the talks revolved around patent issues pertaining to Android OS versus iOS. (See also:

After the iPhone 5 and iOS6 were launched and it was revealed that Google Maps had been omitted in favour of a somewhat rudimentary Apple Maps, it looked possible that the earlier talks would have included the Maps application as a topic too. (See also:

And now has come the news that Google-owned Motorola Mobility had unceremoniously dropped certain patent claims against Apple, without stating any reason. This has opened doors for a fresh round of speculations.
As has been argued by some observers, this could be a Google move to offload some patent claims that could possibly dilute other ‘stronger’ claims in future.

That, however, could be a position Google would consider taking from a longer-term view. In the more immediate term, mutually advantageous fallouts are more likely. The most obvious possibility would be that it paves the way for talks to happen on Google Maps app for iOS6 powered devices.

Google’s withdrawal of patents claims may have come in the backdrop of Apple hardening its stand over the Maps issue and its CEO Tim Cook even risking things by way of suggesting that users could use web-based maps of those including Google and Nokia. The risk seems to have paid off in the sense that there has been no major backlash for Apple.

Google’s withdrawal of patents claim may well be seen as an acknowledgement of Apple’s position of strength being drawn from a strikingly loyal customer base, and could potentially open doors for fresh talks on Maps app with Apple.

While Cook in his letter to Apple customers had optimistically noted, “iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you,” Apple would also be aware that it could take quite ‘long’ for Maps to come to a mark and would not risk testing customers’ patience beyond a threshold.

In saying that customers could “use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app,” Cook may have intended to give Google and Nokia a hint for a possible cooperation.

Notwithstanding the possibility that in the changed smart phone market dynamics, Apple would logically have preferred Nokia as a better partner over Google, Nokia has so far failed to see the opportunity. It has instead been busy jesting at Apple, little acknowledging that Apple is now too big an elephant for the erstwhile smart phone leader.

Google on the other hand has extended a positive move that could prompt Apple to reciprocate and hint at resuming a dialogue on Maps. 

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