There was a lot to digest from Apple’s Q2 2012 quarterly results call, but a number of people have chosen to focus on Tim Cook’s comments regarding Apple’s ongoing patent disputes with various competitors, including Samsung, Motorola, and HTC. Cook’s comments on the call included “I’d highly prefer to settle versus battle” and “I’ve always hated litigation”.

Consensus among most of the coverage I’ve read is that this is somehow a departure from Steve Jobs’ position of “thermonuclear war“. While Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs, his statements certainly don’t indicate a change in policy. All Cook said is that he’d rather not go to court. He didn’t say he’s willing to compromise, or accept a settlement in which Apple continues to be “the developer to the world,” or competitors don’t “invent their own stuff.” Through that lens, I’m sure Steve Jobs would have also “preferred to settle”.

Litigation costs time, money, and effort that could and should be spent doing what Apple actually wants to do: work on the next great thing. I don’t see why so many people are confusing Apple’s disdain for distraction — which is nothing new — with a sudden interest in olive branches.