It seems that the once-rapidly escalating war of attrition between Apple and Qualcomm may be coming to an end.
Speaking at the Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen this week, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said that issues such as the one between Qualcomm and Apple, “tend to get to resolved out of court, and there’s no reason why I wouldn’t expect that to be the case here.”
He didn’t specify any more details — and stated that, “I don’t have an announcement or anything so please don’t ask” — but Mollenkopf’s wording certainly suggests that a resolution could be in the works. After all, CEOs of billion-dollar companies don’t typically downplay hostilities or alleged transgressions by another company if there’s a chance of them receiving a good settlement in court.
What went down
Despite working together for years, Qualcomm’s feud with Apple was kickstarted back in January, when Apple sued Qualcomm for allegedly withholding $1 billion in rebates because Apple assisted South Korean regulators investigating Qualcomm’s business.
Qualcomm subsequently hit back back by claiming Apple was being purposely misleading, and that it had breached its contract with the company. Qualcomm also pulled other Apple partners into the fight, including iPhone and iPad assembler Foxconn, and went so far as trying to get the iPhone banned in the United States.
Apple responded by arguing that Qualcomm’s licensing agreement, which gives it a percentage of every iPhone sold, is invalid. Should Apple have been successful in pursuing this argument, it could have severely damaged Qualcomm’s business model.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Apple has settled a major dispute with a sworn enemy. Back in 2014, Apple and Google agreed to drop their ongoing patent suit against one another — despite Apple once threatening “thermonuclear war” on Google.
Hey, we guess if thermonuclear war can be averted, then so can some arguments over iPhone percentage points!