In the ongoing feud between Apple and Qualcomm, the latter company today has brought four of Apple's main iPhone and iPad suppliers into the legal battle by filing a breach of contract complaint against Foxconn, Pegatron, Wistron, and Compal.

Qualcomm has sued the four manufacturers for "breaching their license agreements" by failing to pay royalties on the use of Qualcomm's technology in the assembly of Apple's devices. For its part in the production of iPhones, Qualcomm supplies the LTE modem in Apple's smartphone.

qualcomm logo
The cessation of royalty payments by the iPhone manufacturers isn't too surprising, as it follows a report from April in which Apple itself stopped paying its suppliers for royalties related to Qualcomm. According to Qualcomm, "the manufacturers say they must follow Apple’s instructions not to pay," so in retaliation Qualcomm is suing the four companies, asking them to comply with long-standing contractual obligations as well as pay any withheld royalties.

Qualcomm said that Foxconn, Pegatron, Wistron, and Compal are still paying royalties for Qualcomm technology related to non-Apple products "under the very same agreements that apply to the Apple products." Qualcomm further mentioned that its license agreements with the manufacturers began before Apple even sold its first iPhone, meaning that "Apple is not a party to the agreements" and shouldn't be able to interfere so heavily in its business.

“It is unfortunate that we must take this action against these long-time licensees to enforce our agreements, but we cannot allow these manufacturers and Apple to use our valuable intellectual property without paying the fair and reasonable royalties to which they have agreed,” said Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm.

“As Apple continues to collect billions of dollars from consumer sales of its Qualcomm-enabled products, it is using its market power as the wealthiest company in the world to try to coerce unfair and unreasonable license terms from Qualcomm in its global attack on the company. Our license agreements with Apple’s manufacturers remain valid and enforceable. The manufacturers must continue to live up to their obligations under these agreements and Apple should immediately cease its tortious interference.”

In the original report relating Apple's suspension of royalty payments, the move was suggested to hurt Qualcomm to the tune of $500 million, causing the company to adjust its third quarter guidance from $5.3 billion - $6.1 billion in revenue down to $4.8 billion - $5.6 billion. The argument between the two companies originates back to an FTC complaint regarding Qualcomm's anticompetitive patent licensing practices, for which Apple sued Qualcomm, accusing the company of charging unfair royalties for "technologies they have nothing to do with."

The feud reached a boiling point in April due to Apple's decision to stop royalty payments to its manufacturers in relation to Qualcomm technology, and would continue doing so until the conflict was resolved. The move particularly hurt Qualcomm because the company's licensing deals are directly with iPhone suppliers, like the four it is now suing, and not Apple itself.

In a statement given last month, Apple said, "We've been trying to reach a licensing agreement with Qualcomm for more than five years but they have refused to negotiate fair terms." The company called Qualcomm's demands "unreasonable," arguing that Qualcomm has been "charging higher rates" based on Apple's own innovation in its devices, "not their own."

Top Rated Comments

4jasontv Avatar
52 months ago
Oooh, they should try suing the users too! They are benefiting from Qualcomm tech without paying. Also, there are the companies that ship Qualcomm's stuff and don't pay royalties. And of course tech news sites should pay. They are making ad revenue off of Qualcomm!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
yeah Avatar
52 months ago
Intel better step up their modem game...
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avieshek Avatar
52 months ago
Let the game begin!

Qualcomm vs everybody.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
err404 Avatar
52 months ago
Apple will end up back-paying. The issue isn't the validity of the patent, it's the cost. Apple is claiming that the price is unfairly/inconsistently applied to different companies. Apple is withholding further payments until the court determines a fair rate. At that point Apple will pay the new agreed amount.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
agsystems Avatar
52 months ago
Is Qualcomm the only player in the game for this technology and can it be done else where?
I don't think you can be backward compatible and not use their patents - you can come up with a clean room implementation for next gen 6G but since you will need to support 3G/4G/5G, you will still have to pay up.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PBG4 Dude Avatar
52 months ago
I think the more it is Qualcomm vs everybody, the less likely Qualcomm is to win. I don't know anything about the licensing for this particular part, but if there is a way for anyone else to make this part and Qualcomm looses the court case...no more Qualcomm
Qualcomm owns the patents behind wireless communication technology. Even if someone else invented a replacement chip, they'd still have to license spectrum-related patents. It's like that FRAND lawsuit between Apple and Nokia years back over 3G patents.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

tile sticker e1570533758981

Tile CEO: 'We Welcome Competition From Apple, But We Think It Needs to Be Fair'

Tuesday May 4, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Just after Apple announced its AirTags, Tile CEO CJ Prober relayed his concerns about competing with Apple in the tracking space, and said that Tile would ask Congress to investigate Apple's business practices specific to Find My and item trackers. Prober this week did an interview with Bloomberg, where he further expanded on Tile's complaints about Apple and why he feels that Tile is...
signal instagram ads3

Signal Shares the Instagram Ads Facebook Doesn't Want You to See

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:29 am PDT by
Encrypted messaging app Signal has had a series of Instagram ads blocked from the social media platform, after it attempted to show users how much data the Facebook-owned company collects about them and how it's used to push targeted ads. In a blog post, Signal described how it generated the ads to show users why they were seeing them, simply by declaring upfront the information that the...
tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
fortnite apple logo 2

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Admits App Store's 30% Cut Is Similar to Consoles, Would Have Accepted Special Deal With Apple

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:54 pm PDT by
Apple's legal battle with Epic Games is continuing on, and during the second day of the trial, Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney continued his testimony against Apple. Sweeney was grilled by Apple's lawyers, and made several points seemingly favorable to Apple. In addition to mentioning how he prefers Apple's iPhone and values Apple's privacy policies that he's aiming to dismantle, Sweeney...
snapchat dark mode

Snapchat Rolls Out Dark Mode on iOS

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:17 am PDT by
Nearly two years following the release of iOS and iPadOS 13, which included native, built-in, and systemwide dark mode, Snapchat, one of the world's most prominent social media networks, has finally rolled out a dark mode theme for iOS users. Snapchat began testing a dark mode theme of its app design late last year with a small group of iOS users. Now, Snapchat says that as of this week, it...
netflix sign up

Apple Discussed 'Punitive Measures' Against Netflix for Dropping In-App Purchases

Wednesday May 5, 2021 11:03 am PDT by
As the Epic Games v. Apple trial progresses into its third day, Apple's internal documents and communications with various companies are continuing to surface, giving us some insight into the dealings that Apple has had around the App Store. Back in December 2018, Netflix stopped offering in-app subscription options for new or resubscribing members and instead began requiring them to sign up ...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Begins Transition to Randomized Serial Numbers With Purple iPhone 12

Wednesday May 5, 2021 9:17 am PDT by
MacRumors previously reported about Apple's plan to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021, and this transition has now started with the new purple iPhone 12 model in multiple countries. With assistance from Aaron Zollo, host of the YouTube channel ZolloTech, we can confirm that the purple iPhone 12 released last month has a new 10-character serial...
airtag 1

AirTag Anti-Stalking Measures 'Just Aren't Sufficient' Says Washington Post Report

Wednesday May 5, 2021 6:03 pm PDT by
The safeguards that Apple built into AirTags to prevent them from being used to track someone "just aren't sufficient," The Washington Post's Geoffrey Fowler said today in a report investigating how AirTags can be used for covert stalking. Fowler planted an AirTag on himself and teamed up with a colleague to be pretend stalked, and he came to the conclusion that the AirTags are a "new means...
iphone 13 pro max dummy notch

iPhone 13 Pro Max Dummy Model Depicts Smaller Notch

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 13 models are expected to feature a slimmed down notch, marking the first major change to the TrueDepth camera system since it was introduced in the 2017 iPhone X. We're still months away from the launch of the iPhone 13, but Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy managed to get an iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy model that represents what we can expect from the new 2021 device. Dummy...
iPad Pro July Shipping

12.9-Inch iPad Pro Now Delivers as Late as Mid-July

Wednesday May 5, 2021 7:10 am PDT by
While the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro is set to launch in the second half of May, orders placed today are estimated for delivery as late as mid-July on Apple's online store in the United States — some two months later. The new 11-inch iPad Pro is faring better so far, with some configurations available for delivery in the last week of May. The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro features a Liquid Retina XDR ...