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Qualcomm won’t stop shipping chips for the iPhone even though Apple is suing it for $1 billion


Qualcomm doesn’t intend to take Apple’s legal action lying down, but neither does it plan to stop doing business with the iPhone maker.

Apple hit Qualcomm with a £1 billion lawsuit on Friday[1], saying the chipmaker had improperly withheld rebates in retaliation for Apple’s complaints to regulatory authorities in the U.S. and elsewhere. Apple’s suit followed a separate antitrust complaint[2] earlier in the week from the Federal Trade Commission.

For its part, Qualcomm says Apple is trying to turn a simple contract dispute into a regulatory issue.

Sources close to Qualcomm say the company is considering filing its own lawsuits in response, whether in the U.S. or elsewhere, as well as trying to get Apple’s case dismissed.

One thing Qualcomm doesn’t plan to do, though, is to stop supplying modem chips to the iPhone maker.

While Apple uses its homegrown processors to power the iPhone, it relies on modem chips from Qualcomm, especially in the U.S., where rivals don’t support technologies used by Sprint and Verizon. With the iPhone 7, Apple began using modem chips from Intel[3] as well, though those chips only work with the types of networks used by AT&T and T-Mobile.

Qualcomm requires those that want its chips to also have a license to its underlying cellular patents.

However the sources note that the company hasn’t cut off chip supplies in the past, even when there were disputes over patent licensing.


References

  1. ^ hit Qualcomm with a £1 billion lawsuit on Friday (www.theverge.com)
  2. ^ separate antitrust complaint (www.recode.net)
  3. ^ Apple began using modem chips from Intel (www.recode.net)

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