Tech lobby group sides with Apple against Qualcomm

The siding is just pressure tactics in a battle of who will blink first.

In a significant development a group representing major technology companies has sided with Apple in its legal dispute with Qualcomm. The industry body has called on regulators to reject Qualcomm’s bid to ban the import of iPhones.

The lobby group representing tech giants, including Google, Facebook Inc, Inc, Microsoft Corp and others has filed its comments with the U.S. International Trade Commission.

The trade body has argued that if Apple was barred from importing foreign assembled iPhones that have Intel Corp’s chips, as requested by Qualcomm, it would cause “significant shocks to supply” and hurt consumers.

Qualcomm declined to comment.

“If the ITC were to grant this exclusion order, it would help Qualcomm use its monopoly power for further leverage against Apple and allow them to drive up prices on consumer devices,” said Ed Black, CEO of Computer & Communications Industry Association.

“What’s at stake here is certainly the availability of iPhones and other smartphones at better prices.”

The crux of the legal matter revolves around Qualcomm’s supplying modem chips to Apple which enables its smartphones to connect to cellular data networks. Apple has objected to Qualcomm’s business model which requires customers to sign patent license agreements before buying its chips.

In turn, Qualcomm has objected to Apple directing its contract manufacturers, including Foxconn, to withhold license payments to it, in a bid to hurt Qualcomm’s revenues.

The conflict has taken a toll on Qualcomm’s profit outlook.

Qualcomm has also sued Apple on separate allegations that Cupertino had infringed on six of its patents. It has also filed a complaint with the U.S. ITC and sought a ban on iPhones that use chips “other than those supplied by Qualcomm affiliates.”

Apple began using Intel chips in the iPhone 7.


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