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Apple Semiconductors

Apple and Qualcomm Settle Bitter Legal Battle

The expensive, globe-spanning legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm is finally over. The two tech giants settled out of court right as the main trial in federal court had begun this week. The settlement includes a payment for an undisclosed amount from Apple to Qualcomm, a six-year licensing agreement and a multiyear agreement to buy Qualcomm’s chips. Apple had been fighting Qualcomm over the mobile chip company’s licensing fees when it sued the company in January 2017. Qualcomm countersued and a series of lawsuits between the two spun out from there.

The settlement isn’t a good sign for Intel, which Apple had been using as its main cellular modem supplier for the past few generations of iPhones. Intel’s only major customer for its cellular modems is Apple. Without Apple, it’s hard to imagine a reason for Intel to continue its modem business. Intel had already been struggling to meet deadlines for a 2020 5G phone, Fast Company recently reported. Apple is also working on its own cellular modem, but that’s still likely a few years out. Now with Qualcomm as a supplier and partner again, Apple can launch a 5G phone sooner rather than later.

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