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I know you are but what am I: Qualcomm responds to Apple lawsuit

love hate relationship

Following Apple’s lawsuit against Qualcomm in January the chip-maker has hit back with a countersuit, accusing the company of inhibiting performance to make Intel look better.

It’s a relationship which is starting to turn very bitter, reminiscent of when Britney and JT went through their public break-up, as lawsuits are flying all over the place. We’re not too sure whether we’re in Silicon Valley or Heathrow Terminal 5, but keep your head down, it looks like things are about to turn nasty.

“Qualcomm is the world leader in inventing and developing fundamental, ground-breaking mobile technologies that enable the worldwide mobile ecosystem. Today, Qualcomm’s patented technologies remain the primary value driver for mobile devices,” Qualcomm’s General Counsel, Don Rosenberg very humbly stated.

“Over the last ten years, Apple has played a significant role in bringing the benefits of mobile technology to consumers with its popular products and services. But Apple could not have built the incredible iPhone franchise that has made it the most profitable company in the world, capturing over 90%  of smartphone profits, without relying upon Qualcomm’s fundamental cellular technologies.”

Qualcomm has a few grievances with the iLife leader, but perhaps the most damning is the accusation Apple purposely inhibited the performance of its chips to demonstrate competitor chips were more suited. It would appear Qualcomm is claiming Apple is trying to be cute to get away from the now-turbulent relationship, though how much truth there is in the accusation remains to be seen.

In recent months, Apple has released various devices in the US running modem chips from both Intel and Qualcomm. Following analysis, Apple has suggested devices powered by Intel performed better, which has not been received well by chip-maker. It’s a curious turn of events when you take into account Intel’s ‘varied experiences’ when it comes to cracking the smartphone market in recent years.

The original lawsuit looked as though Apple was trying to put as much space between the two companies as possible, as it attacked Qualcomm’s chequered reputation as a market bully. Qualcomm has been accused of inflating prices through its licensing model, but also charging Apple for patents which it had nothing to do with, including TouchID, display panels and camera components.

In retaliation, Qualcomm has accused Apple of breaching agreements and encouraging regulatory attacks on Qualcomm’s business in various jurisdictions around the world by misrepresenting facts and making false statements. The relationship is turning very bitter, and who knows if there is a way to salvage it.

“Now, after a decade of historic growth, Apple refuses to acknowledge the well-established and continuing value of those technologies,” said Rosenberg.

“It has launched a global attack on Qualcomm and is attempting to use its enormous market power to coerce unfair and unreasonable license terms from Qualcomm. We intend to vigorously defend our business model, and pursue our right to protect and receive fair value for our technological contributions to the industry.”

It certainly has been a couple of weeks of upheaval at the smartphone giant, as the team has also ended its long-standing relationship with Imagination Technology from whom it licensed GPU designs. That is certainly one move which could end in tears, as Imagination patent lawyers will be on high alert, eager to sue should Apple infringe its IP with its own designs.

Apple certainly isn’t shy about taking on suppliers on multiple fronts, but there is one thing you can guarantee over the next couple of months; Apple’s lawyers are going to be pretty busy.


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