Everybody knows about Steve Job's famous intentions to go thermonuclear on Android if necessary, but it seems that current CEO Tim Cook wasn't necessarily on the same tactical page. According to Reuters, unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation say that Cook was opposed to suing Samsung when the trouble started brewing, because Samsung was such a big parts supplier for Apple.
Tim Cook, Jobs' successor as Apple chief executive, was opposed to suing Samsung in the first place, according to people with knowledge of the matter, largely because of that company's critical role as a supplier of components for the iPhone and the iPad. Apple bought some $8 billion worth of parts from Samsung last year, analysts estimate.
...Apple's worst fears were confirmed with the early 2011 release of the Galaxy Tab, which Jobs and others regarded as a clear rip-off of the iPad. Cook, worried about the critical supplier relationship, was opposed to suing Samsung. But Jobs had run out of patience, suspecting that Samsung was counting on the supplier relationship to shield it from retribution.
It makes sense that Cook would have been particularly concerned about constraining the flow of supplies considering he was responsible for handling the logistics of building the sophisticated and efficient supply line of which Samsung was a part. Of course a lot has changed since then. Cook now has the reins, but Apple has already made some progress developing its own chips, hiring away a top Samsung chip designer, and generally making moves to wean itself off of Samsung goodies. And that's to say nothing of the big win Apple initially got against the Korean company, even though it seems to be dissolving day by day.