Things aren’t going so hot between Apple and Qualcomm at the moment, with no end in sight to the issues.
However, the reason why things fell apart in the first place has been a bit murky up to this point. Apple has made it a point to lambast Qualcomm for what it perceives are ridiculously high royalty fees, while Qualcomm has made an argument that Apple has infringed on a variety of patents. That argument has gone pretty far, leading to an injunction against certain iPhone models in Germany and China.
Bloomberg got a batch of leaked emails between Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and Qualcomm’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Mollenkopf, which reveals why the relationship between Apple and Qualcomm deteriorated to its current state. The emails reveal what Apple has already made public in court, that it wanted to continue working with Qualcomm despite the legal battle. However, Qualcomm made a pointed statement that it believed Apple had leaked code relating to the customization of mobile chips.
Williams, for his part, did offer to essentially “firewall” the employees working with Qualcomm-related code, and went as far as to say that there couldn’t be anything worthwhile gleaned from the code.
“In my wildest imagination of some evil intention of Apple, I have trouble coming up with a real scenario where anything of significant value could be leaked based on this code,” Williams wrote in September 2017.”
For those keeping track at this point, Qualcomm has accused Apple of stealing its confidential source code and delivering it to Intel.
This legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple has been going on for a couple of years now, but it sounds like both were willing to work with one another despite all of that. However, Qualcomm’s belief that Apple couldn’t be trusted with their proprietary information led to things dissolving.
“In a bid to keep Qualcomm supplying modems for a portion of Apple’s 2018 iPhones, Williams dismissed the licensing dispute to focus on the potential benefits of the two companies continuing to work together.
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.”
Things between these companies aren’t going to get better anytime soon, more than likely, and it sure has been interesting to hear all of these revelations so far. Granted, those have come mostly from the legal battle between the FTC and Qualcomm so far, but we’re sure to hear even more in the months ahead.