Re: @DougS Bad for free software
I didn't say Google would give Apple any money, just that Google might come to an agreement that would make it easy for Android OEMs to settle with Apple and pay them licensing fees like they already do to Microsoft. Consider Google's position here. They give away Android, but make money on advertising when Android users use Google services. So they have two goals in mind:
1) make Android as widespread as possible
2) encourage OEMs using Android to not override Google services (i.e. limit stuff like Kindle Fire)
Apple's win over Samsung has had to throw some worry into the Android licensees. Google doesn't indemnify them against patent lawsuits, while Microsoft does for Windows Phone licensees. Android is free from Google, but the Android OEMs have all (or pretty much all) come to private licensing deals with Microsoft where they pay an undisclosed sum (rumored to be $5-$15) per phone for Microsoft patents used in Android.
If the Android OEMs figure out the licensing costs and potential costs to Apple (legal costs when they get sued win or lose, plus damages and/or having their products banned from the market if they lose) they might figure going with Windows Phone is a better deal. Even if it costs more they know EXACTLY what their costs are, whereas with Android it is unknown because of the legal uncertainty surrounding Apple's patents. This is an incentive for Android OEMs to partner with Microsoft and start producing Windows Phones and decrease their production of Android phones, which would cost Google future profit. It would also reduce choice and variety in the Android marketplace as resources are diverted to marketing models running Windows Phone.
Therefore I suggested Google might mutually agree with Apple on a list of Apple patents that Android violates, and in return get Apple to agree to standard licensing terms that would be available to any Android OEM running stock Android or something close to it (i.e. skins, but probably not layers like TouchWiz that significantly alters stock Android) This costs Google nothing, and helps Android by eliminating legal uncertainty. OEMs wouldn't have to worry about Apple suing them if they decided to sign a licensing agreement with Apple - which they have already done with Microsoft so it's just another cost they'd account for when planning products. Importantly, this also benefits Google because the OEMs would have an incentive to use stock Android, or something very very close to stock Android - which as I understand it is something a lot of Android users would prefer as well.
There is no reason for Apple and Google to be talking at this time unless Google is trying to come to some sort of deal with Apple. If Google wanted to "talk about how crazy this all is" and somehow try to get Apple to quit suing without giving them anything (which seems to be what you're wishfully thinking) then they sure as hell wouldn't do it right now, just after the Samsung verdict. You don't get someone to try to quit suing you the moment the courts just handed them a victory, that's coming at them from a position of weakness.
As I said in my previous post, I know Android fans wouldn't like this. But I don't see how it would be any different from the licensing fees they already pay Microsoft every time they buy an Android phone. Why should Microsoft's patents in smartphones be any more valid than Apple's? Yes, Microsoft has sold smartphones for much longer, but the smartphones they sold pre-iPhone were completely different. And yes, Apple hasn't sold smartphones for very long relative to some others, but they bought companies like Fingerworks in 2005 who pioneered multitouch, and therefore presumably own at least a few important basic patents applicable to modern smartphones. It doesn't matter if Apple invented this stuff itself or not, they obviously recognized it was important before anyone else did otherwise they wouldn't have been able to buy Fingerworks because Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Nokia or RIM would have already owned them and their patents.