Today, Qualcomm begins a new chapter in their legal fight with Apple by suing four of Apple's key iPhone suppliers.
Now, Qualcomm is insisting that Apple was in no position to influence the manufacturers, as the license agreements were entered into before Apple sold the first iPhone.
Tim Long of BMO Capital, who has a Market Perform rating on Qualcomm stock, and an Outperform on Apple shares, writes that the move by Qualcomm "is not unexpected, as we believe the breach of contract is not being disputed by either side". "The manufacturers must continue to live up to their obligations under these agreements and Apple should immediately cease its tortious interference".
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I talked to Founder & Principal Analyst of Moor Insights & Strategy, Patrick Moorhead, and he said: "Apple does not have an IP license with Qualcomm, but rather Qualcomm has IP licenses with Apple's ODMs, so it makes sense that Qualcomm would need to sue the ODMs for payment due to their breach of contract".
In a separate agreement, Qualcomm pays Apple under a deal that the iPhone maker has described as a sort of "rebate" to lower the cost of royalties.
Qualcomm on Wednesday said it's filed a counter suit against Apple's iPhone and iPad manufacturers for withholding royalty payments. Apple and other companies claim Qualcomm is charging unfairly high rates in violation of pledges to license inventions that are essential to comply with industry standards.
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But why? Back in January 2017, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint charging Qualcomm with using anticompetitive tactics.
That means Qualcomm can collect money on every smartphone, even those that have chips made by other companies. "And we said, that is interesting, but that is between you and Apple".
Over the past eight months, Qualcomm's patent licensing business has been under fierce attack by anti-monopoly regulators and technology giants including Apple, Samsung and Intel. Qualcomm is disputing those claims and denying any wrongdoings.
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Compal, Pegatron and Wistron representatives didn't respond to emails sent by The Wall Street Journal after working hours, nor did they pick up calls by the Journal after office hours. He likened the resistance to pay for the use of Qualcomm technology to someone walking into an Apple store and refusing to pay full price for a smartphone.