In aftermath of bitter legal fight, Qualcomm CEO calls Apple ‘good partners’

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Apple & Google: Rivals, but partners.
Photo: Qualcomm

Following a two-year legal tussle over patents and royalties, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said Thursday the chipmaker’s dealings with Apple have greatly improved and phrased the relationship as one of two “good partners.”

In a televised interview with Bloomberg TV, Mollenkopf the two companies have moved forward to try and deal with what’s best for both businesses.

“The discussion is really about products and how do we launch products as fast as possible. It’s much more natural now,” he said.

Sorted history

The two tech firms fought a sometimes ugly, public battle over patent licensing, royalties. Apple first accused Qualcomm of monopoly, extortion, price gouging and illegally double-dipping with royalty payments.

Qualcomm countered in September 2018 alleging Apple stole “valuable trade secrets” and gave them to Intel.

Both companies ultimately settled out of court in April 2019, hours before a patent licensing trial was to begin.

In April of 2019, Apple and Qualcomm reached a settlement and agreed to drop all litigation in multiple countries around the world. Apple made a one-time payment to Qualcomm – somewhere between $5 billion and $6 billion to settle the lawsuits, according to a USB analyst and a Qualcomm 2019 quarterly filing – and inked a six-year licensing agreement to use Qualcomm’s patented technologies.

It was then that Apple CEO Tim Cook tried to strike a cord of reconciliation and cooperation, telling analyst, “We’re glad to put the litigation behind us … We’re very happy to have a multi-year supply agreement, and we’re happy that we have a direct-license arrangement with Qualcomm which I know was important for both companies and so we feel good about the resolution.”