Published: Wed, April 17, 2019
Industry | By Dora Warner

Apple and Qualcomm bring their global legal fight to an end

Apple and Qualcomm bring their global legal fight to an end

Intel Corp, which had been Apple's sole iPhone chip supplier for the past year amid intensifying conflict with Qualcomm, said hours after the settlement was announced that it would exit the modem chip business.

Apple will make an undisclosed one-off payment to Qualcomm as part of a settlement that was announced last night as the companies enter a six-year licensing deal. This particular court battle was over unpaid royalty rebates, and was taking place in court in San Diego, California.

This was discovered when Apple and Qualcomm released a joint press release detailing their agreements to drop litigations, just as Qualcomms head lawyer finished delivering opening remarks.

Apple alleged that Qualcomm - which has made crucial chips for the iPhone - charged an unfair amount to license its patents to place calls, connect to the internet and for other technologies, including audio and video.

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The agreement ends a multi-billion dollar legal battle over smartphone technology and will allow Apple to use Qualcomm's advanced chipsets.

An antitrust trial between the United States Federal Trade Commission and chipset manufacturer Qualcomm is now in session in San Jose, California. Although that gave Apple a way to keep making iPhones there was a cost.

Apple had tried to bypass Qualcomm by using modems from Intel in its iPhones and iPads.

On the other hand, Qualcomm has talked about the settlement of all litigation against Apple in a blog post.

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After years of global litigation, Apple and Qualcomm have settled all disputes.

Apple argued that Qualcomm was abusing its position as one of the only suppliers for cellular technology, and Qualcomm contended that Apple was withholding payments that the two companies had hammered out as part of a royalty agreement. Intel, a Qualcomm competitor, sharply dipped on the news before recovering. In a case filed in January 2017, Apple accused Qualcomm of overcharging for the chips.

"The company will continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, but does not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020", Intel said in a statement late Tuesday. With the Apple-Qualcomm row in full swing, Apple had started using Intel's components instead - but with Qualcomm apparently now back on good terms, that could well change.

Apple will also resume buying chips from Qualcomm.

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