Qualcomm sues Apple over stealing software code, sharing with Intel

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Qualcomm has filed a law suit in California Superior Court in San Diego accusing Apple of stealing intellectual property like software development tools and computer source code and sharing with rival chip maker Intel in an effort to slash down its reliance on Qualcomm technology.

In the filed documents the company writes, “(the iPhone maker has engaged in a) multiyear campaign of sloppy, inappropriate and deceitful conduct to steal Qualcomm’s information and trade secrets.”

In early 2017 Apple had sued Qualcomm over matters related to patent royalties arguing business practices of the chip maker are harming them as well as the entire tech industry. It accused the supplier for charging unfair technology-licensing fees by using its dominance of the market for modern chips used in smartphones.

Qualcomm responded saying the legal assault on it is in fact a commercial dispute that is primarily focusing on lowering the prices and increasing profitability.

Between 2011 and 2016 Apple was Qualcomm’s top customers and used its chips (baseband modems) in the iPhones, but later the order was split between Qualcomm and Intel. Meanwhile, the latest iPhone X is learned featuring components made by Intel and Toshiba (not Samsung and Qualcomm). A teardown of the device by repair firm iFixit and chip analysis firm TechInsights confirmed the same.

Each year Apple publishes a list of suppliers but does not disclose which companies are supplying what. The company also insists the suppliers not to disclose. However, the breakdowns report recommend caution in drawing conclusions as sometimes one component is sourced from more than one supplier so that one iPhone may be different internally from another.

Earlier, in July this year, Qualcomm’s chief executive Steve Mollenkopf said he hope a settlement with Apple would be reached and this will create a better environment for both the companies in resolving the licensing business issues.

For the chip maker the legal battle with Apple is just one of many it is facing recently. A takeover attempt by rival Broadcom was one of the main challenges until President Donald Trump blocked the deal citing national security grounds.

Also, Federal Trade Commission and foreign regulators had challenged Qualcomm in court over patent licensing practices.

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