Published: Sat, October 14, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Qualcomm Files New Lawsuits Seeking iPhone Ban in China

Qualcomm Files New Lawsuits Seeking iPhone Ban in China

While a sales ban would definitely hurt Apple, a production cutoff would cripple the company's supply of smartphones globally, since most iPhones are made in China. The product provides nearly two-thirds of Apple's revenue. Qualcomm's suit in China is based on three non-standard essential patents that allegedly cover power management and touch-screen technology like Force Touch used in current iPhones. The Cupertino company has historically used Qualcomm's modems in its phones, though it's recently switched to Intel chips for that goal. Apple has accused Qualcomm of failing to pay it $1 billion in rebates that it says it is owed. It just introduced iPhone 8 and X models aimed at reasserting leadership in a market that's steeped in competition from fast-growing Chinese makers.

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Spokesperson Josh Rosenstock told Bloomberg that "in our many years of on-going negotations with Qualcomm, these patents have never been discussed". Suppliers and assemblers in China are rushing to churn out as many new iPhones as possible ahead of the key holiday season, so any disruptions would likely be costly. The deal now in place still requires that Apple pay a fee regardless of whether the phone includes a Qualcomm chip, though. It's been repeatedly fined for similar behaviors, with the latest ruling coming down yesterday, when it was fined $774 million by Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission. Qualcomm previously requested an iPhone ban in the United States. That's about $2 billion a year in highly profitable revenue, according to analyst estimates, and the chipmaker was forced to lower earnings forecasts. Apple shares are up 36 percent this year.

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