Qualcomm hits back and is countersuing Apple

In January of this year, Apple sued the chip-maker Qualcomm, with unreasonable demands for royalties being one of the major gripes, among others. Now, the Apple Qualcomm dispute has erupted again as Qualcomm countersues.

The countersuit also involves questions over royalties. Qualcomm is one of the most successful chip-making companies in the world, and it licenses out its technology to other companies too.

Earlier this year, however, Apple claimed Qualcomm was asking for royalties for “technologies they have nothing to do with.”

The chip-making company sued in California Monday, late in the day, to, “enjoin Apple from further interference with Qualcomm’s agreements with the companies that manufacture iPhones and iPads for Apple.”

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The company also claims Apple has been, “misrepresenting facts and making false statements” which has led to negative regulatory examination.

Qualcomm is a San Diego based company. Source; Market Watch/Bloomberg News

The earlier, Apple-led lawsuit involved a claim that Qualcomm owes $1 billion, which Apple believes withheld following Apple’s assistance in an investigation undertaken by the Korean Fair Trade Commission.

CEO did not relish in Apple Qualcomm head-to-head

Another area of contention in the Apple Qualcomm dispute comes from the latter’s belief that the former chose, “not to utilize the full performance of Qualcomm’s modem chips in its iPhone 7.”

“Apple could not have built the incredible iPhone franchise that has made it the most profitable company in the world, capturing over 90 percent of smartphone profits, without relying upon Qualcomm’s fundamental cellular technologies,” CNBC quotes Qualcomm as saying.

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

Qualcomm CEO Steven Mollenkopf suggested in February that the Apple Qualcomm dispute should be settled outside of courtroom and that he would not want the whole matter to be played out in the press.

That ambition, however, now looks unlikely given that the countersuit is now trending. Not much that Apple did or has done to manage to avoid the gaze of the media and tech fans.

Indeed, Mollenkopf acknowledges the weight that Apple carries when he also said in February that he would not relish the possibility of facing off against them. As a new chapter in the Apple Qualcomm saga now opens, that aim looks unlikely to be fulfilled.

Mollenkopf was wary of an Apple Qualcomm showdown
Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf. Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images/CNBC

“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,” the Financial Times quotes Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s general counsel, as saying.

Were Intel given an unfair advantage?

The company alleges that Apple, “effectively chose to limit the performance of the Qualcomm-based iPhones” so that their technology would seem less efficient.

It claims that its chips performed better than those made by Intel, but that Apple did not wish consumers to be aware that Qualcomm-based iPhones were operating on a superior level.

“Apple has built the most successful consumer products in history by relying significantly on cellular technologies pioneered by Qualcomm. Now, Apple wants to pay far less than fair value for a licence to Qualcomm’s patents,” Qualcomm’s legal team said.

Despite the bad blood earlier this year, Qualcomm did say that it would continue to supply Apple.

This dispute is not the only legal wrangle Apple has been involved in within the last few days – with Apple Australia being taken to court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for allegedly making, “false, misleading, or deceptive representations” on consumer rights.

[More: Is the iPhone 8 at the End of its Line]

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