Apple and Qualcomm have been at loggerheads for more than two years now. These companies currently have multiple patent dispute cases in multiple countries. Recently, Qualcomm succeeded to stop the sales of some iPhones in China and Germany. Although, Apple was able to circumvent the sale ban in China with a software update.
Now, emails seen by Bloomberg suggests that the two companies are in a battle over software access rather than patent infringement which made the headlines. The email documents the dispute between Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf. Jeff Williams hopes that Qualcomm will provide software access to Apple and provide a firewall key to facilitate “customizing” the modem.
Qualcomm said that as long as Apple promises to use Qualcomm chips in at least 50% of the iPhone in the next two years, it will provide software access. Apple did not fulfill its corresponding promise after accepting Qualcomm’s request on the surface. Apple not only completely removed Qualcomm’s modem in the 2018 new iPhone but also leaked Qualcomm’s software code to Intel.
In response, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf wrote in the email, “As long as Apple is willing to maintain a certain amount of business flow, Intel’s illegal use of software licenses will be effectively resolved.” Bloomberg believes that software disputes should be a key reason for the breakdown between Apple and Qualcomm.