Qualms Becalm Qualcomm at Quarter’s End

Release time:2017-07-20
source:Junko Yoshida

As its quarterly earnings announcement looms, bad news keeps piling up for Qualcomm. The U.S. chip giant lost an appeal in a European Union court Monday, while back in the U.S. it faces a new round of antitrust allegations, filed late Tuesday by four ODMs.

Qualcomm’s latest European troubles originate in a 2010 suit filed by Icera, a British chip maker owned by Nvidia. Icera accused Qualcomm of using unfair financial incentives to attract new customers. That complaint formed the basis for the European Commission’s latest antitrust investigations into Qualcomm.

Qualcomm, formally charged by the European Commission for using anti-competitive methods, last month asked the European General Court in Luxembourg to suspend the order. Qualcomm argued that the EU competition authority's demand requires “enormous work and significant financial costs estimated at no less than 3 million euros as it involved more than 50 employees and 16 external advisers.”

Court President Marc Jaeger, however, dismissed the appeal in a July 12 ruling.

Reuters reported earlier this week that Qualcomm, by losing the appeal, faces the threat of a daily fine of 580,000 euros ($665,000) for failing to provide EU antitrust regulators with information. Contacted by EE Times about the potential fine, Qualcomm offered no response.

Meanwhile, the four contract manufacturers for Apple’s iPhone filed on Tuesday antitrust allegations against Qualcomm in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. 

These are counterclaims to a Qualcomm lawsuit filed in May, in which the smartphone chip giant seeks to force contractors to pay Qualcomm license fees that Apple directed them to stop paying.

It’s curious that a lawyer representing these four ODMs — Hon Hai Precision Industry, Wistron Corp., Compal Electronics Inc. and Pegatron Corp. — is Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a prominent First Amendment lawyer. He was a lead attorney for Apple in the San Bernardino mass-murder case, when Apple fought the FBI over access to a locked, encrypted iPhone. An Apple official confirmed to Reuters that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is funding the four ODMs’ legal defense. Boutrous said in a statement that these iPhone contractors “are bringing their own claims and defenses against Qualcomm."

(Source: EE Times) 
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What started out as a botched royalty negotiation between Qualcomm and Apple earlier this year has devolved to the point that Qualcomm has exercised six broad smartphone patents against Apple in two court actions earlier this month, asking for damages and a ban on importing allegedly infringing iPhones.

Beyond Qualcomm vs Apple, Qualcomm’s big-picture problem, and the root cause of its legal fights throughout the world, is Qualcomm’s alleged anti-competitive behavior. Similar allegations are being voiced by competitors all over the global market.

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Taking its legal battle with chip making giant Qualcomm to the next level, Apple has claimed it wanted to use Qualcomm modems in its 2018's iPhone models but the chip maker refused to sell them after being sued by the iPhone maker over its licensing practices.The US Federal Trade Commission(FTC) has accused Qualcomm of operating a monopoly in wireless chips, forcing companies such as Apple to work with it exclusively and charging excessive licensing fees for its technology.According to Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams's testimony in court during the FTC trial against Qualcomm, the latter refused to sell its 4G LTE modems to Apple because of the companies' licensing dispute, the CNET reported late on Monday.The chip making giant continues to provide the iPhone maker with chips for its older models, including the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus."The strategy was to dual-source in 2018 as well. We were working toward doing that with Qualcomm but in the end they would not support us or sell us chips," the report quoted William as saying.Apple reportedly dialled Intel's CEO at the time, Brian Krzanich, to ask the company to supply all modems needed for the iPhone instead of only half the volume.However, Williams' comments appear to contradict testimony from Qualcomm's CEO Steven Mollenkopf.Mollenkopf on Friday had said on the stand that as of spring 2018, Qualcomm was still trying to win a contract supplying chips for iPhones but that it hadn't "had any new business" from Apple since its previous contracts expired, the report added.
2019-01-16 00:00 reading:615
Qualcomm has announced its next-generation modem purpose-built for Internet of Things (IoT) applications such as asset trackers, health monitors, security systems, smart city sensors and smart meters, as well as a range of wearable trackers.The Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem has been designed to bring together key innovations required to build cellular-enabled IoT products and services in a single chipset, including global multimode LTE category M1 (eMTC) and NB2 (NB-IoT) as well as 2G/E-GPRS connectivity, application processing, geolocation, hardware-based security, support for cloud services and accompanying developer tools.“The innovations included in the Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem are critical to support many of the 6 billion IoT devices expected to use low-power, wide-area connectivity by 2026,” said Vieri Vanghi, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Europe. “LTE IoT technologies are the foundation of how 5G will help connect the massive IoT, and we are making these technologies available to customers worldwide to help them build innovative solutions that can help transform industries and improve people’s lives.”“The Qualcomm 9205 modem is expanding the IoT ecosystem by providing a solid foundation for future-proof, multimode LTE-M and NB-IoT Cinterion Modules designed to enable worldwide LPWAN connectivity as networks evolve,” said Andreas Haegele, SVP IoT products, Gemalto. “Our security enhancements provide a strong framework for unique Gemalto services such as Device Lifecycle Management that help drive down TCO for device makers and IoT service providers.”
2018-12-19 00:00 reading:736
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