FTC alleges Qualcomm forced Apple into iPhone LTE chip deals

“The Federal Trade Commission has reason to believe that Qualcomm abused its position in the broadband chip manufacturing business to obtain an advantage illegally,” Chris Smith reports for BGR. “The chip maker is said to have forced smartphone makers to agree to anti-competitive business arrangements that prevented them from using modems from Qualcomm’s competitors.”

“Apple is one of the high-profile Qualcomm partners that was allegedly forced to enter into an exclusive agreement for modem chips, which prevented Apple from using any other chips for several years,” Smith reports. “Only last year, Apple added a second LTE provider to its iPhone supply — that’s Intel, one of Qualcomm’s main rivals, and a company that has been vying for Apple’s business for years.”

“In its complaint, the FTC explains that Qualcomm doesn’t only make the modem chips it sells to phone makers, but it also holds many patents critical for these components. Some of these patents were declared essential to industry standards that enable cellular connectivity,” Smith reports. “Qualcomm should license those patents on ‘fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory, or ‘FRAND,’ terms,’ but the chipmaker failed to do so.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The question we asked yesterday remains open, “So, who precipitated this FTC complaint, Apple, Broadcom, Intel, Samsung, Texas Instruments, etc. or some combination of the aforementioned?”

FTC charges Qualcomm with monopolizing key smartphone chip; alleges extracted exclusivity from Apple in exchange for reduced patent royalties – January 17, 2017
After eating Intel’s mobile lunch, Apple could next devour Qualcomm’s Baseband Processor business – January 20, 2015
Analyst: Apple’s going to dump Intel modems if they keep lagging Qualcomm – December 5, 2016
Yes, Apple is throttling download speeds for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Verizon and Sprint versions – November 19, 2016
Apple’s modem choices may leave Verizon iPhone users feeling throttled – November 18, 2016
Tests show iPhone 7 Plus models with Qualcomm modem perform significantly better than those with Intel modem – October 20, 2016


      1. Have you observed this? Or are you going off the articles people are writing about the two? I have the intel chip, and when I stand next to someone with the Qualcomm chip, and do the same action, I don’t really see a difference.

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