Qualcomm accuses Apple of stealing its modem chipset secrets and giving them to Intel

Qualcomm accuses Apple of stealing its modem chipset secrets and giving them to Intel
It is no secret that right now, Apple and Qualcomm are not the best of friends. After a number of back and forth lawsuits related to patent infringement, royalties and the like, Apple decided to drop Qualcomm as a supplier. That is why all 2018 iPhone models are equipped exclusively with modem chips produced by Intel after both firms supplied Apple in 2016 and 2017. And today, Qualcomm accused Apple of stealing its "chip secrets" and handing them over to Intel so that the latter could produce chips that work like Qualcomm's component. From 2011-2016, Qualcomm was the lone supplier of modem chips for the iPhone.

The accusation was part of a motion filed by Qualcomm to amend a complaint originally filed last November. That complaint states that Apple turned over confidential information to Intel, breaking a software license contract with Qualcomm. Today's filing, seen by Reuters, is more specific and states that the iPhone manufacturer was engaged in a "multi-year campaign of sloppy, inappropriate and deceitful conduct ... for the purpose of improving lower-quality modem chipsets, including those manufactured by Intel, a competitor of Qualcomm, to render such chipsets useable in Apple devices with the ultimate goal of diverting Qualcomm's Apple-based business to Intel."

When Apple and Qualcomm were at the peak of their friendship, and Qualcomm was responsible for the modem chips on all iPhone models, Apple was allowed access to the chip designer's tools to help Apple integrate the chips into its handsets. But since the suit was filed in November, Qualcomm says that its engineers have come across evidence that Apple used Qualcomm's software to "improve the sub-par performance of Intel’s chipsets." The amended motion claims that the use of Qualcomm's software improved Intel's chips so much that Apple decided to "divert some of Qualcomm’s Apple-based business to Intel." It should be pointed out that Intel is not listed as a defendant in the lawsuit.

source: Reuters

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47 Comments

1. zelas

Posts: 41; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

lol :D

26. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

The key is that Qualcomm states that they have proof that Apple did this. The courts will see for sure. But at the end of the day I know Apple is a greedy company. Look what Apple did to the company Imagination Technology (GPUs PowerVR) in March 2016, Apple considered buying Imagination Technologies but ended up never making a formal offer. From 2015-17, despite retaining the licensing agreement, Apple engineered a "brain drain" of Imagination Technologies's personnel, including engineers and executives. Apple also established a new office for chip development in St Albans, close to Imagination Technologies headquarters. Apple is so cheap they won't even include a quick charger in the box. Besides look at the cost to repair the glass back of the XS Max is $599. The XS is $550. The entire cost to make those iPhones doesn't cost Apple over $400 for the XS Max. Even with Apple Care you still have to pay a good fee. Apple the company that will rip off others and call it their own. I think Apple calls this stuff courage and innovation.

30. apple-rulz

Posts: 2198; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Ummm, you need to learn that poaching talent is not a practice exclusive to Apple. I get that you and the overwhelming majority of posters here on phonearena will bash Apple, facts and reality be damned, but the RDF you all live under is getting old, and idiotic.

32. cmdacos

Posts: 4334; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Oh man that is a rich comment....

40. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

"Everyone is doing it so it must be right"

45. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Did you see the part where I said "despite retaining the licensing agreement". So I guess license agreements mean nothing to Apple. I guess only license agreements that Apple makes are only valid. Is that right apple-fools?

2. MarvzIsFallen

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

This is what happens when a company loses apple as costumer.

5. Sakeem

Posts: 865; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

What do you mean?

7. cmdacos

Posts: 4334; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

No, this is why Apple drops their suppliers. They take the intellectual property and run.

18. apple-rulz

Posts: 2198; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

How did Apple do that? Be very specific and detailed.

22. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Did you not read this part "Apple was allowed access to the chip designer's tools to help Apple integrate the chips into its handsets. But since the suit was filed in November, Qualcomm says that its engineers have come across evidence that Apple used Qualcomm's software to "improve the sub-par performance of Intel’s chipsets." If it happened the evidence will speak.

25. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Sissy246 you cannot tell or give proof to apple-rulz until he lets go from the nuts of Tim Crook and company.

29. apple-rulz

Posts: 2198; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

So if sissy246 “was allowed access to the chip designer's tools to help Apple integrate the chips into its handsets.” you’d be able to reverse engineer the chipset? In general terms, but being as technical as possible, how would you go about that?

35. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

I am not saying they did or didn't. But if QC does have proof and provides that proof then Apple needs to pay up.

36. IT-Engineer

Posts: 580; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

Your probably know nothing about software engineering, let me explain. There are a lot of tools one can use not only reverse engineer but also de-obfuscation of code. But if you have the original designer tools with the files, then you have full access to the code without the need to crack anything, human readable.

39. apple-rulz

Posts: 2198; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

I’m running out of ways to ask this but stupid me will keep trying; Let’s say for example I give you, IT-Engineer, the exact .gds file that contains the chip design. Now as you undoubtedly know, you’d never even find a merchant shop to build it, due to the trademarks built into the design. How would you, IT-Engineer, know what to modify to avoid that? Tell me exactly what you would do. Be precise, don’t just throw around the word modify, I want exact details.

48. mootu

Posts: 1541; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

IT-Engineer may not know how to modify it but Intel certainly would.

33. cmdacos

Posts: 4334; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Check Qualcomm's proof in court.

12. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1476; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

This is what happens when you cooperate with Apple, they screw you over big time.

3. D34ever

Posts: 236; Member since: Jul 14, 2018

Apple is as slimy as ever.

4. darkkjedii

Posts: 31670; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

If Apple broke a legally bonded agreement, they it should pay the penalty. Plain and simple.

37. IT-Engineer

Posts: 580; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

Well Intel did agree to send the blueprints to Qualcomm, but years went by and they never did. That only tells you that they are hiding something and don't want Qualcomm to see.

6. apple-rulz

Posts: 2198; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

There is no way Apple could steal modem chipset information and pass it on, it’s simply not possible.

8. gamehead unregistered

lol, dont worry. They'll pay off court fees by increasing the next iphones prices.

9. XDAdam

Posts: 276; Member since: Feb 03, 2016

If Apple had all of these secrets, why did Apple just make the chips themselves?

17. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

It's not as simple as you think. Don't try to defend Apple here.

19. apple-rulz

Posts: 2198; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

It is a lot more complicated than you think. Don’t try to accuse Apple here.

38. IT-Engineer

Posts: 580; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

The same reason they don't build their own phones. They don't have the facilities and Human resources to do that. Especially if they stole IP fro Qualcomm, they won't be stupid to do so themselves when Intel can do that already for them.

10. monkeyb

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 17, 2018

People who try to bash Apple need to understand that you are assuming Intel is not capable to make chipsets without Apples help. This is about Intel vs Qualcomm. If Qualcomm goes to court saying Intel is not capable at all then they look like stupids. Did QC mention anywhere that they shared secrets with Apple in all these years? I would like to see that statement somewhere.

20. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1476; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Intel's modems offered significantly poorer performance compared to Qualcomm modems, yet this year they've made a massive leap forward. While that's not proof, it could definitely be considered suspicious. And it's not like Apple has never done this before either. In a few years they'll eliminate Intel as a supplier as well.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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