Apple is once again working with bitter rival Samsung, according to a report in a local news agency.

After a series of disputes and legal battles stretching over the past few years - not to mention being deadly rivals and by far the two most dominant players in the smartphone market - Apple and Smasung appear to have patched up their differences. According to South Korean ET News, Samsung will be supplying Apple with thin glass panels for its iPads and iPhones.

Long-term followers of corporate law will be aware that even the most bitterly opposed litigants often continue to work together if it's in their interest to do so, but few expected Apple and Samsung to kiss and make up. Samsung was famously instructed to pay Apple a cool billion dollars after the Cupertino tech giant accused it of violating design patents on the iPhone and iPad. Since then the two companies - formerly large-scale partners - have been working to disentangle their dealings, as Samsung grew to rival and surpass Apple in the smartphone and tablet markets (depending which metrics you use).

Samsung logo

It's believed that this marriage of convenience was born of necessity, with Apple struggling to meet upcoming deadlines for the launch of new iPhones and iPads this year, and Samsung controlling access to a large number of smaller glass display suppliers. As ET News happily notes, there are few Japanese or Taiwanese competitors in the thin glass market.

(The arrangement would be a huge boost to South Korean industry. As ET news says: "The thin glass companies showed a clear sign of turnaround in the second quarter. The thin glass sales of four major companies, Soulbrain*, Chemtronics, Global Display, and Avatec, this year is expected to reach 534 billion South Korean won [about £300m], which is about 34 percent greater, year on year. When compared to the sales in 2011, the year when the thin glass process was introduced in full force, the sales grew by a whopping 134 percent.")

It should be emphasised that the partnership has not yet been confirmed by either party, but if it is, this would represent a considerable thawing in the relationship between two of the biggest companies in the world.

*Can we stop for a moment to appreciate this company name?

See also:

Apple v Samsung: complete summary of patent trial

Five ways Apple could lose out from its victory over Samsung

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