Leaked emails reveal new reason why Apple went to war with Qualcomm

“When Apple Inc. executive Jeff Williams told a courtroom that Qualcomm Inc. cut off chip supply for iPhones, it was compelling testimony in the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust case against the semiconductor company,” Ian King and Mark Gurman report for Bloomberg.

“The FTC argues that Qualcomm won’t sell chips if customers don’t also pay hefty licensing fees. But a 2017 email exchange between Williams and Qualcomm Chief Executive Officer Steve Mollenkopf shows the relationship may have broken down for other reasons,” King and Gurman report. “Billions of dollars in chip supply deals involving Apple and Qualcomm may have actually collapsed over a squabble about software access, rather than the patent fees that sparked a bitter legal battle between the two technology giants, according to the emails seen by Bloomberg.”

“Williams said Apple would not leak key Qualcomm computer code needed to customize modem chips — something the chipmaker had accused the iPhone maker of doing. The chief operating officer offered to ‘firewall’ engineers using the software,” King and Gurman report. “Mollenkopf offered to provide the software access Apple needed. In return, he asked for a commitment from Apple to use Qualcomm modem chips in at least 50 percent of iPhones over two years, according to the emails. The exchange suggests that Qualcomm and Apple were arguing over software, rather than the licenses at the center of their bruising legal battle. Still, the emails only offer a small window into the negotiations. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This software issue was but one minor niggle. The real issue is Qualcomm’s extortion racket.

Qualcomm is obligated, and should finally be forced, to license their technology on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

Qualcomm’s unreasonable, illogical, and irrational licensing scam, which charges a percentage of the total cost of all components in the phone, even non-Qualcomm components, must end.

Apple’s COO Jeff Williams delivers blistering testimony on Qualcomm’s ‘onerous demands’ – January 15, 2019
Apple was paying Qualcomm over $1 billion per year in licensing – January 15, 2019
German court throws out Qualcomm’s latest patent case against Apple – January 15, 2019
Qualcomm posts $1.5 billion bond required to enforce iPhone sales ban in Germany – January 3, 2019
U.S. FTC v. Qualcomm set to begin; case could upend Qualcomm’s predatory business model – December 27, 2018
Qualcomm places high-stakes bet on iPhone injunction in Germany – December 21, 2018
Apple pulls some older iPhones from sale in Germany after patent ruling – December 20, 2018
Qualcomm wins dubious envelope tracker patent case against Apple in Munich – December 20, 2018
German court rules Apple infringed Qualcomm patent – December 20, 2018
Qualcomm warns Apple to take China’s ban of older iPhones very seriously – December 19, 2018
Qualcomm claims Apple is violating Chinese court order, despite software changes – December 18, 2018
Apple releases iOS 12.1.2 – December 17, 2018
Apple denies iPhone import ban in China – December 10, 2018
China ‘bans the import and sale’ of most iPhones, Qualcomm claims; Apple says iPhones still available – December 10, 2018


  1. Gurman and Bloomberg are NOT reliable when it comes to Apple stories. Gurman has an axe to grind, and Bloomberg for whatever reasons has published numerous negative articles about Apple over the years. Remember the Supermicro server chip story? That was from Bloomberg/BW.

  2. Qualcomm has quite a few smartphone companies snagged by their nether regions. Qualcomm will likely continue to win licensing battles and get away with charging whatever they want. Smartphone companies desperately need Qualcomm’s baseband chips and mobile SoCs.

    Qualcomm is in a much stronger position than Apple is. Apple ended up paying Qualcomm far more than they ever intended to. That’s how powerful Qualcomm is. Qualcomm’s CEO doesn’t seem like he’ll take much crap from anyone.

    One thing is for certain. No one is going around saying Qualcomm is doomed like Apple is said to be doomed.

    1. I seem to remember when their stock tanked and take over talk was the order of the day their very survival was continually considered in doubt.
      As for talk of Apple being doomed there has barely been a time when it wasn’t thus judged. This very site used to have a doomsday clock in acknowledgment of that for 20 odd years. It’s probably only been about the last 6 years till recently when that particular ludicrous argument wasn’t being put forward by some jerk of an analyst or other. Now soon we forget.

      Qualcomm simply won’t be allowed to get away with its behaviour indefinitely it’s just not in the interest of too many increasingly powerful entities, it’s just a matter of whether it’s crippling comes now or further down the line only effectively paying off those growing enemies can delay matters but that’s just delaying the inevitable.

  3. In the long run, it sure looks like Qualcomm will encourage other companies to make cell phone modems, which can’t ultimately be good for Qualcomm.

    There are lots of patents involved in the technology, so it may take a decade for a great competitor to emerge. Will Apple enter the frew with its own modem and software?

  4. Amazing, that last sentence writes off practically the whole previous contention of the article. Bloomberg really are persistently and demonstrably two faced in their reporting of Apple. No shame..

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.