Apple and Qualcomm could work together again in 2019

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Qualcomm
Qualcomm is a major player in 5G technology.
Photo: Qualcomm

Apple and Qualcomm have been feuding for the past year-and-a-half, but they may make peace in time for the upcoming 5G era.

According to a new report, sources in the supply chain think the companies will patch up their relationship next year, due to the fact that it would be too risky for Apple to bet on 5G smartphone production adopting non-Qualcomm chips. Qulacomm is one of the leaders when it comes to 5G chip technology.

The source notes that, “leveraging the rifts between Qualcomm and Apple,” Intel is likely to capture 100 percent of the orders for modem chips in 2018.

MediaTek is busy developing its Helio M70 5G chip solution using a 7nm process at TSMC with the goal of appealing to Apple. These chips are reportedly able to transmit data at speeds of up to 5Gbps over a 5G network. Nonetheless, it is likely that Apple will resume adopting Qualcomm’s modem chips for its 2019 iPhones.

Digitimes continues that:

“The sources reasoned that new-generation 5G smartphones must be compatible with 4G communications specs in the short term, and performance, quality and yield rate are crucial elements affecting sales of 5G smartphones. Accordingly, global smartphone brand vendors can hardly avoid cooperating with Qualcomm, which has been undertaking technological cooperation with many telecom operators in the world and has already provided complete 5G product design solutions and chip platform for trial uses by brand customers for a long while.”

The boss of Qualcomm, CEO Steve Mollenkopf , has said that he is confident that the company’s feud with Apple can be resolved — so long as the right fee is negotiated.

Apple vs. Qualcomm

The feud with Qualcomm began in January last year, after Apple sued Qualcomm for allegedly withholding $1 billion in rebates because Apple assisted South Korean regulators investigating Qualcomm’s business.

Qualcomm responded by claiming that Apple was being purposely misleading, and argued that it had breached its contract. The subsequent decision by Apple to withhold royalty payments to Qualcomm then 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.

Since then, the battle has raged on — with Qualcomm even attempting to ban iPhones being imported to the United States that use chips, “other than those supplied by Qualcomm affiliates.”

While a resolution to the Qualcomm vs. Apple feud seems unlikely right now, the same could be said for Samsung, Microsoft, Google, and plenty of other companies Apple has patched things up with. Well, enough that they can work together at least.