Published: Wed, April 17, 2019
IT | By Lester Massey

Qualcomm and Apple abruptly drop all litigation

Qualcomm and Apple abruptly drop all litigation

Intel, which is now the sole supplier of 4G LTE modems for Apple's current generation of iPhones and iPads, just announced that it is throwing in the towel on 5G modem development for smartphones. This was reflected in the market as the company's stocks jumped up 23 percent after the settlement news broke out.

While Intel has not indicated a link between the two announcements, the news comes just after Apple and Qualcomm said they are bringing their legal battles to an end.

Qualcomm countered saying Apple had been stealing its tech and won a couple of victories in Germany and China that meant Apple had to stop selling certain iPhone models in those countries.

The not-so-surprising move, which likely explains the sudden settlement between Apple and Qualcomm, will also see Intel "complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices". At today's conference, Huawei confirmed that it had no deal with Apple for supplying 5G modems.

Apple's litigation chief Noreen Krall chatted privately with Qualcomm attorney Mark Snyder before Judge Curiel called the jurors back into the courtroom.

A year later, Apple had switched to making its phones with Intel chips and filed a suit against Qualcomm asking for that $1 billion and a lower royalty rate.

Perhaps now that Apple is well on its way to developing and manufacturing its own chipsets, it wont rely on Qualcomm as much as it had in the past.


A few days earlier, Qualcomm won a point as Apple was ordered to pay $31 million for patent infringement.

According to Nikkei, Apple has indeed been concerned that Intel would not be able to meet its 5G schedule, and this is what may have prompted the Qualcomm settlement.

The royalty agreement - pertaining to the licensing of Qualcomm patents for use in Apple products - will last for six years, effective April 1, 2019.

It was rumoured that Apple's 2020 iPhones would also feature modems made by Intel, but recent reports claimed that Apple had "lost confidence" in the chipmaker, which had been missing deadlines for the development of its XMM 8160 5G modem.

The news came as a San Diego court heard arguments in a case involving the two companies' patent dispute. Now that Apple will be standardizing on Qualcomm modems going forward, Intel's hopes of growing (or even maintaining) its mobile modem business were effectively reduced to zero.

Based on the decision in the FTC suit, Apple was assumed to have the edge in its case.

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

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