The Qualcomm-Apple legal battle has been incredibly interesting to follow over the last couple of years but it looks like both sides are finally ready to lay their swords down. Today, Qualcomm and Apple announced a surprise settlement to all ongoing lawsuits, putting an end to the legal disputes filed across the world.
The whole situation kicked off in 2017, after Apple launched a $1 billion lawsuit against Qualcomm over what was deemed to be an unfair licensing contract. The FTC also began investigating Qualcomm for anti-competitive business practises at around the same time. Apple has since switched to Intel for its iPhone modem needs, but Qualcomm has countered that by claiming that Apple gave Intel access to confidential information.
Qualcomm fired back on plenty of occasions, filing lawsuits against companies within Apple’s supply chain, tying Apple’s legal team up with various patent disputes and even calling for trading bans on iPhones in certain countries, including the US and China. Despite all of the legal back and forth, Qualcomm remained confident throughout 2018 that a settlement would be reached, something that became reality today.
As part of a press release, Apple confirmed that its agreement with Qualcomm “ends all ongoing litigation, including with Apple’s contract manufacturers”. As part of the settlement, Apple and Qualcomm have reached “a global patent license agreement and a chipset supply agreement”.
Essentially, Apple can continue to use Qualcomm’s chips for the next six years. There is a two-year extension option available and Qualcomm will be opening up its supply lines to Apple once again, almost as if the last two years of bickering never happened at all.
Unfortunately this does have a knock on effect for Intel. Team Blue has been trying to grab a bigger share of the mobile market for years and had begun supplying modems for iPhones after the Apple/Qualcomm dispute. Now that Apple and Qualcomm have settled things, Intel has decided to drop its 5G mobile modem development.
KitGuru Says: The Qualcomm-Apple dispute has had so many twists and turns since 2017. I’m honestly surprised that a settlement was reached, especially after the infamous Apple V Samsung lawsuits, which drug on for many years.