Apple may be looking to squeeze Qualcomm out of its devices entirely.
Apple, which is locked in a fierce battle with Qualcomm over patents and licensing fees, is designing iPhones and iPads for next year that would ditch the chipmaker’s components, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The company is instead looking to get its modem chips from Intel and possibly MediaTek, sources told the newspaper.
The two companies have been fighting over patents since January, when Apple filed suit against Qualcomm for roughly $1 billion, saying the wireless chipmaker didn’t give fair licensing terms for its technology. It wants to pay a lower amount for using Qualcomm technology in its devices.
Qualcomm, the world’s biggest provider of mobile chips, responded by suing Apple for patent infringement and seeking a ban on iPhone sales. The company maintains that no modern handset — including the iPhone — would have been possible without its cellular technologies.
Qualcomm is one of the key component suppliers to Apple, Samsung and other phone makers. Among its products is high-end, fast modems; without one in your device, you wouldn’t be able to check your Facebook, hail an Uber or place an Amazon order while on the go.
The Cupertino, California, giant makes its own applications processor — the brains of the iPhone — but it relies on third party chips for network connectivity. Since the iPhone 4S in 2011, the supplier for those chips has been Qualcomm.
Last year, 59 percent of smartphone modems came from Qualcomm, followed by China’s MediaTek at 23 percent, according to Research and Markets.
Neither Apple nor Qualcomm immediately responded to request for comment.
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