In the latest twist in the Apple versus Qualcomm battle, Qualcomm has sued Apple yet again — this time claiming that it has taken advantage of its access to Qualcomm code to help rival Intel by giving it information about Qualcomm’s technology.
The lawsuit lends credibility to a previous story suggesting that Apple may be planning to drop Qualcomm chips for new iPhones and iPads which will ship in 2018, and replace them chips made by Intel and MediaTek.
Apple has used Qualcomm chips since the very earliest days of the iPhone, although since the iPhone 7 it has been employing chips made by both Qualcomm and Intel.
Apple vs. Qualcomm
The dispute between Apple and Qualcomm has run throughout 2017. It started 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 then hit back by arguing that Apple had breached its contract. The subsequent decision by Apple to withhold royalty payments to Qualcomm meant that Qualcomm was forced to revise its earnings forecasts to give a smaller number, due to Apple cutting off one of its major sources of revenue.
Apple’s manufacturers also got involved, while Qualcomm has attempted to ban iPhones being imported to the United States that use chips, “other than those supplied by Qualcomm affiliates.” Most recently, Qualcomm tried to sue Apple in China as well, trying to stop the manufacturing and sale of iPhones in one of Apple’s biggest and most crucial markets.
This week, both Qualcomm and Apple reported their quarterly earnings, with both beating beating analyst expectations — although, unlike Apple, Qualcomm’s profits dropped 90 percent year-over-year.