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Qualcomm lawsuit accuses Apple of handing out stolen modem tech to Intel

Qualcomm accuses Apple of stealing modem technology and giving it to rival chip maker Intel.

Ronald Delos Santos

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Qualcomm lawsuit accuses Apple of handing out stolen modem tech to Intel

Apple and Qualcomm have been business partners as the former uses the latter’s modem chipsets on the iPhone devices before. However, the two technology companies have been mixed up in a series of lawsuit cases. In one of the ongoing lawsuits, the semiconductor company allegedly claims the Cupertino-headquartered company has long been stealing its wireless technology in order to eventually wrap up its dependency on Qualcomm’s SoC. The allegations also includes that Apple gave the Qualcomm-owned patented codes to rival Intel.

The lawsuit case filed by Qualcomm has been in the court for nearly two years now also includes detailed information of how Apple was able to get their hands on the code. The lawsuit filing revealed that the iPhone maker and the semiconductor company had forged a blockbuster deal dating back in 2009 which allowed Apple to gain access to the Qualcomm’s secret code. Apple reportedly requested Qualcomm to have an access to code in order to tightly integrate the chip into the hardware and software. Qualcomm, allowed Apple to do so, but on the agreement that the code can only be used in Qualcomm chipset-powered products and can’t be shared with third-party companies. The agreement also includes that the patented code would be strongly preserved in the same way in which Apple protects its own code.

The lawsuit claims that Apple has been sharing its secret code with Intel and it started several years ago. Qualcomm added that it got the intelligence from an anonymous tipster claiming to be an Intel employee. The source said that Intel engineers “were told to ignore intellectual property rights when designing the modem” and that there was “a conspiracy to copy Qualcomm’s technology” using assistance from Apple.

According to the lawsuit, Qualcomm was also supposed to be allowed to investigate Apple’s security practices. Qualcomm claims to have requested to audit Apple last year, but the company has refused to cooperate.

This is not the first time this allegation has emerged but more detailed information appears to keep surfacing gradually. Apple has refused to answer the accuses. The company is accusing Qualcomm of demanding unreasonable royalty fees for the use of its smartphone modem. But Qualcomm said that “Apple continues to use Qualcomm’s technology while refusing to pay for it.”

The claims make for a stirring twist in the ongoing court battle. Apple — among other tech companies — has been unsatisfied with Qualcomm’s supremacy in the smartphone modem market. If a mobile phone manufacturer wants to make a smartphone at extent, most especially one with the best wireless speeds, they’ve basically needed to reach out Qualcomm.

Qualcomm is accused to have used its dominance in handheld device modems to demand unusually high royalty fees to license linked patents.

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