Qualcomm accused Apple of stealing confidential information and trade secrets to help improve the performance of Intel chips, which were eventually used in the company's iPhones.
The allegation is the latest entry in the long-running legal battle between the two companies. Will this finally force Apple to agree to a settlement?
Qualcomm Accuses Apple Of Stealing Trade Secrets
Qualcomm alleged that Apple stole a massive amount of confidential information and trade secrets, and then passed them on to Intel to improve the rival chipmaker's products. The improved Intel chips opened the opportunity for Apple to switch suppliers, which may have resulted in billions of dollars of lost sales for Qualcomm.
The new charges are part of a lawsuit filed in November, when Qualcomm claimed that Apple was violating the agreement that placed Qualcomm chips in iPhones. Apple was required to protect the source code and tools from Qualcomm, but Qualcomm claimed that Apple was preventing the chipmaker to monitor the usage.
Qualcomm has now made a more explosive allegation, with the claim that Apple gave the source code and tools to help Intel solve the engineering problems in its chips that are making them perform poorly in iPhones. Qualcomm claimed to have discovered evidence that engineers from Apple repeatedly forwarded confidential information to engineers from Intel.
Apple used to have Qualcomm's modem chips in its iPhones. However, starting with the iPhone 7, Apple switched to Intel modem chips in certain models, and started removing all Qualcomm components this year. Teardowns of the latest models, the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR revealed that Intel has become the sole supplier of modem chips to Apple.
Apple vs Qualcomm Continues
Apple and Qualcomm have been engaged in tumultuous legal disputes, with many allegations thrown between the two tech companies.
Early last year, Apple filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Qualcomm, claiming that the chipmaker has unfairly charged the iPhone maker for royalties that have nothing to do with it. For example, when Apple doubled the maximum storage capacity of the iPhone to 256 GB, Qualcomm demanded for larger royalty fees.
Qualcomm responded with a lawsuit that wanted to prevent Apple from selling iPhones in China, which is where the devices are manufactured. Qualcomm claimed that Apple is using technology that it developed, but is not paying for them.
It remains unclear when the Apple and Qualcomm legal battle will end. Will Apple finally break with the latest allegations by Qualcomm, or will this last much longer?