Billions at stake as Apple vs Qualcomm trial begins

Apple chief executive Tim Cook

"A settlement is a surprise to investors as ultimately Apple realized this was more about two kids fighting in the sandbox and they have bigger issues ahead with 5G and iPhone softness rather than battling Qualcomm in court".

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.

Effective immediately, all litigation between the two companies has been dropped, and the two have signed new patent license and chip supply agreements.

Apple and Qualcomm have kicked off their billion dollar antitrust trial in San Diego. Qualcomm's stock jumped about 25 percent after news of the settlement.

Moreover, during the FTC trial Apple executives disclosed they had held talks with Samsung and MediaTek Inc about possibly using their 5G modems for 2019 iPhones.

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Previously, Apple had used only Qualcomm's modem chips for its older model iPhones.

Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission also sued Qualcomm in January 2017; that case was finally heard in January 2019.

The stakes had been especially high for Qualcomm given that it earns a significant chunk of its revenue from royalties paid by manufacturers for its patented technology. Our subscribers rely on FierceWireless as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data on this increasingly competitive marketplace.

"In order to purchase Qualcomm chips or obtain access to patents pledged to a cellular standard, Qualcomm demands that third parties pay Qualcomm a royalty much greater than the value of Qualcomm's contribution to the standard", Apple argues. This goes for all court cases between the two companies, for all instances of litigation around the world. 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. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. And Intel was reportedly struggling to deliver its planned 5G modem, raising questions about whether Apple would even be able to deliver a 5G-ready iPhone in 2020.

In opening remarks, Apple lawyers characterized this by saying Qualcomm "double dips", making $16.1 billion in chip sales and an additional $7.23 billion in licensing fees from Apple in the years 2010 to 2016, according to CNET.

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