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Qualcomm Sues Apple For Allegedly Giving Intel ‘Unprecedented Access’ To Proprietary Chip Tech

4 November 2017, 10:39 am EDT By Carl Velasco Tech Times
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Qualcomm's war against Apple intensifies.

The chipmaker has launched a new lawsuit alleging that the Cupertino tech firm shared Qualcomm-based technology to Intel. Both companies have been engaged in a nasty legal fight since early 2017.

Qualcomm Sues Apple For Breach Of Contract

As Bloomberg reports, Qualcomm claims Apple could have used "unprecedented access" to its code as a way to help Intel develop similar chips that would allow Apple to jettison Qualcomm entirely. News of the lawsuit follows recent reports that Apple is getting ready to ditch Qualcomm-made components on the next iPhone and iPad in favor of ones made by Intel or MediaTek.

Apple allegedly requested for information from Qualcomm that has to do with chip technology, and included an Intel engineer in the distribution list.

Qualcomm filed the lawsuit Wednesday, Nov. 1, in California state court. It's the latest development in their high-stakes legal sparring. In addition, Apple is being sued for breach of contract that governs the use of software needed to make chips work with other parts of mobile phones and communicate with networks.

In the latest lawsuit, Qualcomm claims Apple didn't protect its software and isn't allowing an audit to review how it handles the said software, which is one of the obligations stated in the contract.

Apple vs Qualcomm: How The War Started

Their war began when Apple launched a lawsuit in January accusing Qualcomm of overcharging manufacturers for patent royalties. Truthfully, the chipmaker has plenty of leeway to do so, it being the leading company in mobile components. But such a move entails complaints of monopoly.

In its defense, Qualcomm argued that Apple's claims were baseless and that it misrepresented facts.

Since their war began, Apple has been withholding royalties from Qualcomm. It has advised suppliers not to pay such royalties as well.

Apple uses Qualcomm components, chips that allow iPhones to connect to cellular networks. Since the lawsuits, Apple has split iPhone production into two: some have Qualcomm components in them, and some have Intel. This started with the iPhone 7.

The foreseeable upshot of their war would find Qualcomm components completely absent on the next iPhone and iPad iterations, and if this were to occur, the chipmaker's business would suffer significantly. Plans could still change, however.

But it's clear Apple wants to shift to Intel or MediaTek for components Qualcomm provides.

How dropping Qualcomm would affect future iPhones and iPads remains to be seen.

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