Qualcomm head slams Apple’s lawsuits
Arguments over licensing explodes, writes Agam Shah
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.