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Qualcomm faces a bitter Apple FOLLOWING news of the FTC launching an anti-trust complaint against global telco Qualcomm, Apple has joined the party with its own suit, accusing Qualcomm of charging ‘excessive royalties’ and withholding payments in retaliation for Apple cooperating with South Korean regulators that are investigating the chip supplier. According to the lawsuit filed on 20 January, Qualcomm, which provides crucial chips used in the iPhone, charges Apple an unfair amount to license its cellular patents. Apple is also seeking nearly $1 billion in rebate payments, which it claims have been wrongfully withheld. ‘To protect this business scheme, Qualcomm has taken increasingly radical steps, most recently withholding nearly $1Bn in payments from Apple as retaliation for responding truthfully to law enforcement agencies investigating them,’ Apple said in a statement about

the lawsuit to CNNTech. ‘For many years Qualcomm has unfairly insisted on charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with, ‘Apple said in a statement to The Register. ‘Qualcomm built its business on older, legacy standards, but reinforces its dominance through exclusionary tactics and excessive royalties. Despite being just one of over a dozen companies that

contributed to basic cellular standards, Qualcomm insists on charging Apple at least five times more in payments than all the other cellular patent licensors we have agreements with combined.’ In a response, Qualcomm’s Don Rosenberg, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, said: ‘While we are still in the process of reviewing the complaint in detail, it is quite clear that Apple’s claims are

baseless. Apple has intentionally mischaracterised our agreements and negotiations, as well as the enormity and value of the technology we have invented, contributed and shared with all mobile device makers through our licensing program. Apple has been actively encouraging regulatory attacks on Qualcomm’s business in various jurisdictions around the world, as reflected in the recent KFTC decision and FTC complaint, by misrepresenting facts and withholding information. We welcome the opportunity to have these meritless claims heard in court where we will be entitled to full discovery of Apple’s practices and a robust examination of the merits.’ Qualcomm was fined £680.76m in South Korea last month for forcing phone manufacturers into unfair patent licensing agreements in order to get its modem chips.

Impossible battery demands behind Note7 fiasco AFTER a protracted investigation, Samsung Electronics has announced the results of its investigation into the causes of Note7 ‘incidents’, in a press conference in Seoul. As very much expected, the conclusion of Samsung’s investigation laid the blame for the battery fires on the design of the batteries themselves, not on the design of the Note7 phone. However, Samsung in effect took the blame for the problems, showing that the technical demands placed on the battery by the slim design of the phone had, in effect, placed impossible demands on the battery. Samsung initiated a voluntary global recall of 2.5 million Note7 phones, citing faulty batteries, on 2 September 2016. It offered refunds or replacements, but was eventually forced to scrap the 6

January 2017

short-lived competitor to Apple’s iPhones in October, a move that wiped $US5.3 billion off Samsung’s operating profit in what has been described as one of the biggest tech failures in history. According to the findings, the problems centred on insufficient insulation material within the batteries and a design that did not give enough room to safely accommodate the batteries’ electrodes. Though believed to originate from Samsung’s subsidiary Samsung SDI and Chinese company Amperex Technology, Samsung said it was ‘taking responsibility for our failure to ultimately identify and verify the issues arising out of the battery design and manufacturing process’. Describing the investigation, a statement by Samsung read: ‘Through a large-scale testing

facility where approximately 700 Samsung researchers and engineers replicated the incidents by testing more than 200,000 fully-assembled devices and more than 30,000 batteries, Samsung finally concluded the cause of the issues. ‘We look forward to moving ahead with a renewed commitment to safety. The lessons of the past several months are now deeply

reflected in our processes and in our culture,’ the statement continued. Breaking with tradition, it’s now believed that Samsung’s next flagship has been pushed back from its usual schedule of a release at the Mobile World Congress, which begins on February 27, although it’s not known whether this is due to the Note7 failures or a wider strategy. www.mobiletoday.co.uk

Mobile January 2017