Qual­comm head slams Ap­ple’s law­suits

Ar­gu­ments over li­cens­ing ex­plodes, writes Agam Shah

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

Se­nior ex­ec­u­tives at Qual­comm have slammed Ap­ple for fil­ing law­suits that al­lege the chip­maker sig­nif­i­cantly over­charged it for li­cens­ing fees. The spat, which has seen cases filed in Cal­i­for­nia and Bei­jing, was top of the agenda when it con­ducted a re­cent earn­ings call with an­a­lysts. “Ap­ple has been ac­tively driv­ing reg­u­la­tory at­tacks on Qual­comm’s busi­ness in

ju­ris­dic­tions around the world and mis­rep­re­sent­ing facts and with­hold­ing in­for­ma­tion,” Qual­comm pres­i­dent Derek Aberle ar­gued.

The Cu­per­tino-based firm is claim­ing that the chip­maker re­tal­i­ated be­cause it co­op­er­ated with a South Korean gov­ern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion that ul­ti­mately saw the chip­maker fined $854 mil­lion for un­fair li­cens­ing prac­tices.

Aberle de­nied that the firm did any such thing, and the com­pany ob­jected to Ap­ple mak­ing false and mis­lead­ing state­ments. “We will prove that Ap­ple’s ir­re­spon­si­ble claims of ex­tor­tion are false.”

In the Cal­i­for­nia law­suit, Ap­ple is seek­ing $1 bil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion for ex­ces­sive roy­al­ties paid. It ar­gues in its fil­ing that Qual­comm should charge roy­al­ties based on the price of the base­band chip in the mo­bile de­vice, and not a port­fo­lio of tech­nolo­gies.

Aberle said that was in­con­ceiv­able, and not in line with how chip tech­nolo­gies have been li­censed for decades. Li­cens­ing at the com­po­nent level is in­ef­fi­cient, and a de­vice or mo­dem chip­maker would still need to take out li­censes for other Qual­comm tech­nolo­gies in smart­phones.

Be­sides modems, Qual­comm has a huge arse­nal of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty that also cov­ers tech­nolo­gies such as real-time track­ing and map­ping, which forms the ba­sis for com­pa­nies that in­clude Uber. The ex­cess roy­al­ties in dispute are paid to Qual­comm by con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ers such as Fox­conn, which as­sem­ble the iPad and iPhone, and not di­rectly by Ap­ple.

“We hope Ap­ple wouldn’t in­ter­fere with those con­tracts,” Aberle added.

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