Samsung Electronics will maintain its components partnership with US rival Apple, a top executive of the South Korean firm said Wednesday, despite their heated legal battles over patents.
Samsung’s chief operating officer Lee Jae-Yong said he met Apple’s chief Tim Cook during a memorial service for Apple co-founderSteve Jobs, who died on October 5 after a long battle with cancer.
The Korean firm supplies memory chips, display panels and other components for Apple products even though the two companies are in locked in legal disputes over the finished items.
Apple was Samsung’s second-largest client in 2010 after Japan’s Sony Corp, accounting for four percent of its 155 trillion won ($142 billion) annual revenue.
The Korean company will continue to supply parts to Apple next year, Lee said, adding his meeting with Cook covered the issue of promoting “good relations”.
“There was discussion on how to supply even better parts for the 2013-2014 period,” Lee told reporters on his return, according to his spokesman.
Samsung and Apple have been embroiled in a series of patent suits accusing each other of copying designs and technology for their smartphones and tablet computers.
Lee, the only son of Samsung chairman Lee Kun-Hee and heir apparent to the country’s largest company, did not say if he had discussed a truce with Apple.
“There is a need to compete intensively in a fair manner for the benefit of consumers,” he said, adding top managers would consult legal advisers on whether to expand the court fight with Apple.
The battle over the $100 billion market began in April in the United States when Apple accused Samsung of “slavishly” copying the design of its market-leading iPhone and iPad.
Apple has since sought a ban on sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphones and Galaxy Tab in Germany, Australia and other countries, prompting Samsung to file counter-suits.
Samsung is seeking to block sales of Apple’s newest iPhone 4S in Italy, France, Japan and Australia in separate suits alleging a violation of technology patents.