Apple Confirms It Had No Where Else to Go to but Qualcomm for 4G Baseband Chips

Jan 22, 2019
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Apple and Qualcomm are still engaged in a legal battle, with the Cupertino giant alleging that the chip maker abuses its monopoly position, and the latter refuting that by saying that modern smartphones wouldn’t have been possible without Qualcomm’s technology. Recently though, an admission was made in the court which seems to suggest that Qualcomm might be right after all and interestingly, this revelation comes from none other than Apple.

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According to a new report, Matthias Sauer, director of cellular systems architecture at Apple, gave a testimony in which he said that when the company wanted to transition to 4G connectivity with the iPhone 5, neither Ericsson, nor Broadcom, nor Intel could deliver the chip specifications that the iPhone manufacturer wanted. Qualcomm was the only company that was able to deliver 4G modems Apple needed.

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Apple’s acknowledgment of Qualcomm’s technological superiority over competitors can support the chipmaker’s case, who is defying claims that it uses its dominant positions to force phone makers to pay exorbitant licensing royalties. Qualcomm says that FTC’s lawsuit is baseless as its clients choose their chips because they are better than those of its rivals. The company also said that it has never stopped supplying chipsets to customers, even when they are embroiled in a battle over licenses.

Prior to splitting orders between Qualcomm and Intel in 2016, Apple sourced its chips from Qualcomm. This year’s iPhone XS, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR only use Intel’s chips and Qualcomm has also accused Apple of sharing its trade secrets with Intel. It was also discovered recently that Apple’s COO Jeff Williams wanted Apple to use Qualcomm’s chips for the 2018 iPhone lineup but the chipmaker wasn’t interested in doing business with the company.

According to analysts, there might be a sliver of hope that Qualcomm supplies 5G modems to Apple in 2020. This could probably be because according to a previous report, Apple is displeased with Intel’s progress when it comes to 5G chips. Intel recently announced its XMM 8161 5G modem, but there’s a possibility that MediaTek is introduced in the fold as well.

If you want to learn more about 5G, how it works and how it could change the industry in the coming months, make sure to check out our detailed explanation on the next-generation standard.

Source: Bloomberg

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