There doesn’t appear to be a resolution to the legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm around the corner.
In light of Qualcomm not only achieving a sales and import ban of certain iPhone models in Germany, but also posting more than a billion dollars in bonds to secure that permanent injunction against the specific smartphone models, Apple has gone ahead and pulled iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models from sale in Germany. The decision came from a German court that determined Apple does infringe upon Qualcomm patents related to power savings technologies within smartphones.
Apple is currently appealing that initial verdict within Germany. However, the company has to follow in line with the court’s ruling while it does that, which means that the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus are no longer available to buy in Germany for the time being. Customers will not be able to find them from the physical Apple stores in the region, and they cannot be ordered from Apple’s online store, either.
Of course, Apple’s new models (the iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR) are still available to buy in Germany, as these devices are not covered by the court’s decision.
Back when the German court gave its ruling, this was Apple’s statement at the time:
“Qualcomm’s campaign is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issues between our companies. Their tactics, in the courts and in their everyday business, are harming innovation and harming consumers. Qualcomm insists on charging exorbitant fees based on work they didn’t do and they are being investigated by governments all around the world for their behavior. We are of course disappointed by this verdict and we plan to appeal. All iPhone models remain available to customers through carriers and resellers in 4,300 locations across Germany. During the appeal process, iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models will not be available at Apple’s 15 retail stores in Germany. iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR will remain available in all our stores.”
Apple is still in a fight in China as well, where Qualcomm also tried to get iPhones blocked from sale or import. However, Apple released iOS 12.1.2 to directly address Qualcomm’s software-related patents, which ultimately changed the animation for force closing an app on an iPhone. Unlike in China, however, the patent infringement ruling are tied to hardware, which is obviously much harder to fix on the fly. As a result, Apple’s appeal in Germany may be a bit tougher to achieve as well, so there is no telling just how long the older iPhone models will be unavailable in the region.
It has been almost a year since Apple sued Qualcomm for anticompetitive practices. The two companies have been going back-and-forth for months now, and it does not appear that there is going to be a resolution anytime soon.