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Apple is in the process of suing Samsung over its Android devices again. Again, the suit centers on patents. Apple is seeking $2 billion in damages, reports Bloomberg.
But this time, Google has a behind-the-scenes stake. It offered to help Samsung cover costs.
In testimony on Wednesday, Apple's lawyers showed a video in which a Google attorney confirmed that there were email messages between the search giant and Samsung. In those messages, Google offered to help cover Samsung's legal expenses and maybe even damages fees, reports Paul Thurrott on the Windows IT Pro blog.
According to the emails, this kind of help (known as indemnification) is covered by Google's "contractual obligations" to Samsung, the hardware partner that sells the most Android phones, Thurrott reports.
This is the second time Apple sued Samsung over its Android phones. It won the first time, awarded $1 billion in damages, reduced to $929 million.
The lawsuit isn't just for money. Apple also wants the judge to ban Samsung from selling devices in the U.S., though such bans are rare and, even when they do happen, don't tend to last long.
We don't know if Google offered similar types of indemnification to other Android device makers. Samsung is the biggest fish, as the world's biggest maker of smartphones. But if Apple wins, it could want to pursue others.
Often patent lawsuits lead to one company paying another license fees for each new device sold, too. Microsoft has successfully done this with many Linux and Android device makers.
In that way, Android becomes more expensive for device makers and lucrative for Google's competitors, but not for Google. It still gives Android to away for free.
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