Apple and Qualcomm can’t agree on whether or not they’re talking

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Qualcomm headquarters
The battle goes on.
Photo: Qualcomm

Qualcomm has blasted comments made by Apple CEO Tim Cook as “misleading.”

During his recent CNBC interview, Cook said that there had been no recent settlement talks between Apple and Qualcomm. Qualcomm, meanwhile, insists that there have been. But Apple disagrees with Qualcomm’s disagreement. What was it that we said about this case having more twists than a pretzel?

“Look, the truth is, we haven’t been in any settlement discussions with them since the third calendar quarter of last year,” Cook said in his recent interview. “That is the truth. So I’m not sure where that thinking is coming from.”

Back in November, Qualcomm chief executive Steve Mollenkopf told CNBC that: “We do talk as companies, and I think what you’re seeing, really, are activities consistent, really, with the fourth quarter of the game, and not the first quarter. We always talk about — and I’ve been very consistent that this second half of [2018] and into [2019] is when we’re really on the doorstep of finding a resolution.”

These comments appear to differ from Tim Cook’s version of events; something Qualcomm doubled down on in a statement this week:

“We have been consistent for the last 18 months in making clear that we have, at various times, been in discussions with Apple about a possible resolution to our licensing dispute. We have also stated clearly on several occasions that we believe it will be resolved, one way or the other, in the near future, either through a settlement or court decisions.”

Apple then hit back by telling Reuters that, “Qualcomm is desperate to obfuscate the tales it has been telling its investors. Their accusations are a red herring.”

Quite what the timeline in all of this is isn’t clear. From the sound of things, according to Apple, there’s been no time in the past three months when both Qualcomm and Apple’s lawyers have talked and tried to hash out an agreement. Ultimately, however, it comes down to Qualcomm seemingly being keen to reach a settlement, while the deeper pocketed Apple’s eager to hold out for court.

Qualcomm vs. Apple

Qualcomm and Apple have been battling back and forth since early 2017. Recently, things ramped up when Qualcomm secured preliminary court rulings in China and Germany, halting Apple from selling certain iPhone models in the countries. Despite applying only to older iPhone models, these bans are nonetheless costing Apple millions of dollars.

The two companies are scheduled to meet in court in the U.S. in April. Unless they’re able to reach an agreement over something (most likely Qualcomm’s 5G tech) in the meantime, that is.

Source: Reuters