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Apple vs Qualcomm: What a mess!

Apple vs Qualcomm: What a mess!Apple and Qualcomm are going through a rough patch.  Qualcomm has been the modem chip provider for the iPhone for many years.  Apple has recently pointed the finger at Qualcomm for using bad business practices that ultimately required Apple to use Qualcomm exclusively and was charging Apple way more money than they should be.  Here’s the messy breakdown.

  • January 2017: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint against Qualcomm that specifically addresses a deal with Apple in which Qualcomm required Apple to exclusively use its modems from 2011 to 2016 in exchange for lower patent royalties.
  • January 2017: Apple filed pretty much the same lawsuit against Qualcomm in a federal district court in the Southern District of California for the same thing seeking $1 billion dollars.  The $1 billion price tag comes from Qualcomm deciding to withhold $1 billion in rebates because of Apple’s participation in an antitrust investigation against Qualcomm in South Korea.
  • April 10th, 2017: Qualcomm filed a counter suit against Apple for a variety of reasons including reducing the performance of the Qualcomm modem chip in the iPhone 7 so that it does not outperform the Intel modem chip that was installed on the same phone.  The reason Apple installed two modem chips in the iPhone 7 was to reduce it’s dependency on Qualcomm.
  • June 20th, 2017: Apple filed a federal court suit claiming Qualcomm is wrongly basing its royalties on a percentage of the entire iPhone’s value, despite supplying just a single component of the device.
  • July 7th, 2017: Qualcomm filed a counter suit with the International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California for Apple to stop importing new iPhones to the United States as well as stop selling already imported iPhones.  Qualcomm says Apple is infringing on six patents regarding extending battery life which Qualcomm says they aren’t required by law to license them.

What a mess, right?!  A couple of questions you may be asking yourself right about now are:

  • Will this affect the 10th anniversary iPhone?  It may or may not.  Apple was required by Qualcomm to use their modem chip from 2011 through 2016.  As long as Apple avoids using Qualcomm in their anniversary phones, it should be ok.
  • Will the rumored iPhone 7s and 7s Plus due to be released this year as well be affected?  Again that all depends on whether they use Qualcomm chips or not.  Although the original iPhone 7 and 7s did use those chips, Apple will need to omit them in the ‘s’ series in order to avoid them being potentially blocked from entering and being sold in the U.S.

So what do you think?  Will Apple iPhones be blocked from importing and being sold in the U.S.? Will Qualcomm pay up the $1 billion?  Will this affect you as a consumer in any way?  Was this the most headache inducing article so far on TechForDad.com?  Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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