The Apple Qualcomm battle might now gradually move towards a conclusion as the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has taken matters into its hands. On Tuesday, the agency, which holds supreme power to ban the product from entering the country, confirmed that it will now investigate the allegations made by Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
What is the Apple Qualcomm battle dispute about?
In the Apple Qualcomm battle, the chip maker has accused the iPhone maker of unfairly using cellular technology powered by Intel in its iPhones. Hence, Qualcomm is asking for a ban on all the iPhones that have Intel modems inside, which are those running on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks.
Apple has been using Intel chips in the iPhone 7, but according to Reuters, Qualcomm has not accused the Intel chips of violating its patents, but rather, it is accusing Apple of using the chips for its own benefit. Qualcomm has maintained that its lawsuit has nothing to do with Intel, and Apple can choose to get a chip from any vendor without infringing upon its patent.
In the beginning of 2017, Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion, accusing it of collecting royalties on a patent that it had “nothing to do with.” Following the allegation in April, the iPhone maker stated that it would no longer pay any royalties to Qualcomm.
Qualcomm takes the lead
It would not be wrong to say that Qualcomm has won the first round of the battle now that ITC is looking to investigate the matter. Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s executive vice president and general counsel, stated that they are “pleased with the ITC’s decision to investigate Apple’s unfair trade practices and the unauthorized importation of products using Qualcomm’s patents.”
Apple, on the other hand, is getting support from other large tech firms, such as Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, stating that a ban would not be good for customers. Qualcomm, on the other hand, called the group a “coordinated effort aimed at misdirecting” trade regulators.
How ITC plans to investigate
Just a couple of days ago, Credit Suisse stated that Apple could bring an end to this matter by making an $8 billion payment. However, with the ITC involved now, analysts are keen to see an outcome as the trade regulator is known for its speedy resolution of cases.
In its investigation, the ITC will go through certain mobile electronic devices and radio frequency and processing components. Citing an example of the iPhone 7 and baseband processors, the ITC clarified the type of devices and components that it is looking to investigate, notes TechRadar. The ITC also maintained that within the next 45 days, it will finalize the date it plans to end the investigation. Thereafter, the case will go to a judge.
As of now, there have been no new comments from Apple on the matter, and when asked by Reuters, Apple reiterated the comments earlier made by CEO Tim Cook, who stated that Qualcomm had not yet provided “fair and reasonable” licensing terms for its technology.
On Tuesday, Apple shares closed up 0.8% at $160.08. Year to date, the stock is up more than 38%, while in the last year, it is up almost 49%.