Qualcomm’s CEO: Our legal battle with Apple can be resolved

“From the outside, the current legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple over the technology licensing fees that Qualcomm charges device manufacturers based on its patent portfolio looks like all-out, take-no-prisoners war,” Harry McCracken writes for Fast Company. “Apple is suing Qualcomm in the U.S. and China, and Qualcomm has responded with a lawsuit in China that aims to stop the manufacturing and sale of iPhones there.”

“But in an onstage conversation at the Wall Street Journal’s D.Live tech conference, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said that it all boils down to a negotiation over fees that can be resolved,” McCracken writes. “‘At the end, the important thing to remember is this is fundamentally a discussion about pricing over the fundamental technology that makes the phone the phone,’ Mollenkopf said. ‘It comes down to, how much are you going to pay?'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in August:

All along, this has been a dance over royalties, with Apple seeking more amenable terms to Qualcomm’s highway robbery to date. We expect a settlement as well, eventually (once Qualcomm is sufficiently worn down) – a settlement that benefits Apple vs. the old agreement.

Qualcomm’s free ride on Apple’s back is over.

Stop the FRAND abuse. Come to the table and be prepared to settle for realistic royalties. You’ve riding the Apple gravy train for far too long. The jig is up.

Qualcomm’s FRAND abuse must not stand. Qualcomm’s licensing scam — charging a percentage of the total cost of all components in the phone, even non-Qualcomm components — is unreasonable, illogical, and irrational.

Qualcomm faces long odds in attempt to get ban of iPhone sales and manufacturing in China – October 17, 2017
Qualcomm files lawsuits seeking China iPhone ban, escalating Apple legal fight – October 13, 2017
Qualcomm fined record $773 million in Taiwan antitrust probe – October 11, 2017
Apple faces down Qualcomm, Ericsson over EU patent fees – October 2, 2017
Qualcomm loses two key rulings in its patent royalty fight with Apple – September 21, 2017
Apple’s A11 Bionic obliterates top chips from Qualcomm, Samsung and Huawei – September 18, 2017
U.S. judge rules Apple lawsuits against Qualcomm can proceed – September 8, 2017
Qualcomm CEO expects out of court settlement with Apple – July 18, 2017
Apple-Qualcomm legal dispute likely to be ‘long and ugly’ – July 7, 2017
Qualcomm wants court to block Apple from U.S. iPhone imports and sales – July 6, 2017
Judge rules U.S. FTC antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm to proceed – June 27, 2017
Apple uses Supreme Court decision to escalate war against Qualcomm – June 20, 2017
Apple’s amended San Diego complaint against Qualcomm leaves no doubt: many billions at stake – June 20, 2017
Apple rejects Qualcomm’s allegation of throttling iPhones, says ‘study’ is ‘methodologically unsound’ – June 20, 2017
Apple just poached one of Qualcomm’s top guys – May 31, 2017


  1. Of course it can be resolved. FRAND abuse has been going on for many years and Apple is determined to put a stop to it. All Qualcomm needs to do is to properly respect FRAND arrangements.

    Whichever way this case turns out, one thing that you can be certain of is that Apple has been incentivised to eliminate Qualcomm from future Apple products as much as possible. Payments might still be due on intellectual property exploited in alternative chips, but Qualcomm is now a dirty word within Apple and are likely to lose out in the long run.

    There needs to be a way of independently arbitrating FRAND disputes when a company allows it’s intellectual property to become part of an international standard. Courts of Law are not the ideal place to resolve these sort of matters.

  2. it all boils down to a negotiation over fees

    And how long has Apple been attempting to do exactly that, to the point of exasperation and having to resort to The Lawyers to battle it out in court?

    Disingenuous <- Our word of the day.

    – not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does: this journalist was being somewhat disingenuous as well as cynical.

  3. Anyone here bothered to look into Apple license costs for Dock or Lightning?

    Apple includes security chips inside every Lightning cable (think DRM) so Apple could extract overzealous license fees from 3rd party cable makers. Zero cable performance benefits, just market manipulation.

    Then in another case of Tim Cook’s greed-first Apple dropping the ball on quality control, the Lightning security chips were hacked, forcing Apple to reduce its insane license fees to merely very expensive in 2014.

    This is why Apple cables always cost at least 50% more than industry standards.

    If that isn’t an abuse of the user, what is?

    Lightning needs to die. USB-C is every bit as good and way cheaper. But Apple is refusing to move iOS over to USB because Apple has a gorilla market position in phones and wants to milk its users for every penny Cook can take. Cook doesn’t have any market power left on the Mac so zero effort went into connector extortion schemes there.

    Fanboys can whine all they want about Qualcomm charging too much for a technology they invented. That’s what capitalism allows. Apple is as bad as qualcom, it rapes its customers every day for stupid stuff like cables and adapters.

    1. You’ve missed the point about FRAND and standards.

      If a company invents something, there are two broad options. One is to exploit that technology for themselves and another option is to make that technology available as part of an industry standard so that others can pay a licence fee to use it.

      If you allow your technology to be part of an agreed standard, then the fees need to be Fair, Reasonable and Non-Doscriminatory ( FRAND ). On the other hand, if you retain that technology for your own use, you can charge for it in any way that you choose, but it will not become part of an agreed standard.

      Apple didn’t make Lightning available as a universal standard and therefore retains control over the chips and protocols at it’s heart. It’s entirely up to Apple ( or any other IP owner ) what it chooses to charge for it’s own technology when that technology is not part of a standard.

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