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Samsung Offers Apple A Secret Compromise, Sign Of A Truce Ahead?

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Samsung — which has had to delay the launch of its much-anticipated Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia because of its ongoing patent dispute with Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) over its best-selling iPad tablet — has already made a few concessions to its competitor/customer. Now it looks like it has offered one more.

According to reports in the WSJ and Bloomberg, today Samsung offered Apple a deal — exact details of which have not been disclosed — that would allow Samsung to finally offer the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia.

The launch has been delayed by two months because of legal complaints from Apple over patent and design infringements, but if Apple agrees to the deal now being proposed, the company could see a launch of the device as early as next week.

Apple so far has only said that it will need some time to consider Samsung’s offer. Australia has a long weekend because of a national holiday, so the two sides will not meet in court again until October 4 (Apple’s big “Let’s Talk iPhone” day).

It’s hard to guess what Samsung could be offering to Apple, and therefore what the likelihood would be of Apple accepting or rejecting it.

But given that the two are fighting cases in several other markets — Samsung is also suing Apple over technology patent infringements — that could be impacted if Apple makes a compromise on the device itself, and given that a court hearing over the violations is still being scheduled for later this year, it might be something along the lines of a financial promise rather than another software concession.

For example, if the Australian court determines that Samsung has violated Apple’s rights after it launches the tablet, it could offer Apple some kind of royalty per device sold.

Samsung has taken steps already to remove certain features from the device, for example concerning multitouch technology, that Apple claimed violated its patents. From the looks of it, there is now only one feature remaining on the device that still violates an Apple patent.

Stephen Burley, a lawyer for Apple in Australia, today said that if Apple agreed to the deal being offered today, “[Samsung’s] inconvenience would be diminished and we would be comforted,” according to the WSJ — which at least sounds like Apple is considering the offer.

Yesterday brought a revealing day in court in Sydney, when Apple spelled out the impact that sales of the Galaxy Tab could have on Apple’s stronghold on the tablet market, comparing sales of the Galaxy device to the “velocity of a fire hose.”

Apple lawyers further said that the Samsung device could “take away iPad 2 sales so quickly that by the time we get to final hearing the full impact of the patent infringement will be [felt] to the detriment of Apple and to the benefit of [Samsung].”