No of COURSE they didn’t.
Apple recently won a $1.05 billion copyright battle against Samsung and Samsung paid the amount by sending 30 trucks full of 5 cents coins.— What The F*** Facts (@WhatTheFFacts) August 29, 2012
For one thing: as much as the IP wars in the tech industry may have sometimes given this impression, multinational companies generally don’t act quite so much like petulant children as this. For another: the idea that Samsung would pay up just a couple of days after the initial judgement is hilarious. This thing’s getting appealed and appealed and appealed again.
But if you want some more facty responses, here you go. As the US Department of the Treasury helpfully notes, while 21billion nickels would technically be legal tender (unlike in the UK, where there are limits on the amount you can pay with small denomination coins), it’s still the case that Apple would be under no obligation to accept the coins as payment. And furthermore, there’s the issue of practicality. That many coins would weigh a grand total of 5,250,000kg. Split across (as is claimed) 30 trucks, that works out at 175,000kg per truck. Good luck with that; the maximum permitted vehicle weight both on Interstate Highways and in the state of California, where Apple are headquartered, is just under 36,300kg.
Also, it wasn’t a copyright battle, it was a patent battle.
Anyway: it’s been admitted that it’s not true. And as @elliot_bentley points out, it appears to have originated from a website that helpfully puts the words “humour” and “satire” directly above it, which should have been a clue. (Update: Charles Arthur, in his excellent Guardian debunking published at almost exactly the same time as this one, pegs the original source as being this Mexican website.)
Last Tweet Correction: Samsung paid $1.05 billion to Apple by sending 30 trucks full of 5 cents coins is just an internet HOAX.— What The F*** Facts (@WhatTheFFacts) August 29, 2012
Worth noting: at the time of writing, the tweet with the false claim has over 6,000 retweets. The correction has just over 1,000. Bullshit spreads.