Since the legal dispute between Apple and Qualcomm he started to make headlines in technological news, the obvious was assumed: the reason for the war between the companies was, essentially, in an accusation of monopoly directed at the chip maker, who supposedly charges abusive fees for the use of their parts on iPhones. According to emails revealed today by Bloomberghowever, this may not be the case.
In (more) a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) testimony, Apple?s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, showed some emails exchanged between himself and Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, in 2017 at the time, the two companies were negotiating a billion dollar contract for the chip maker to supply modems to the iPhones of 2018. The messages show that the trigger of the fight between the two giants may not be in the money but in the software Qualcomm.
According to the messages, Apple needed a copy of a series of company codes to make some modifications to the modems that would equip the 2018 iPhones. Qualcomm denied, saying that giving up the codes would pose a risk to the company if Ma , deliberately or accidentally, leaks the company's intellectual property to third parties.
In an email sent in September 2017, Williams wrote to Mollenkopf:
Even in my most delusional thoughts of possible evil from Apple, it is difficult for me to imagine a real scenario in which something of significant value could be leaked because of this code. () I hope that the license dispute does not take away your team's judgment for this gigantic business opportunity.
Williams notes that, at the time, Apple planned to place an order for $ 2 billion in Qualcomm modems, which obviously did not materialize. Mollenkopf, for his part, replied that his primary mission was to protect his company's information and Apple would not have acted with the necessary force in the event of previous Qualcomm complaints on that matter.
The emails also indicate that, at the end of the day, Qualcomm's CEO agreed to give up the codes ordered by Apple with the proviso that Ma would use the company's chips in at least 50% of the iPhones manufactured in the world for the next two years. From then on, the conflict broke out and business between companies went downhill.
Obviously, this information must be seen with a backwards: the emails were disseminated by Williams himself and, of course, one of the parties to a process always disseminates information that strengthens his own narrative to the detriment of the other side. Still, it is important to keep this information in mind so that we know that, not always, everything looks and Qualcomm may be getting even more complicated in this story.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Qualcomm asked Apple to make a change to the press release that informed the suspension of sales of some iPhone models in Germany and the German court complied, as also informed the Bloomberg.
If you remember, at the time, Apple said that it would stop selling the devices only in its stores; Authorized resellers and operators would continue to sell the devices as normal. the one where the point of discretion lies: Qualcomm says that, in its interpretation of the decision, the ban applies to all sales of iPhones in German territory, not only those of Apple.
With the new German court decision, Apple should withdraw that part of its statement. There is no information yet, however, if Ma has to force resellers and operators to stop selling iPhones in this regard, we will have to wait and see.