Qualcomm accuses Apple of sharing 'unprecedented access' to chip code with Intel

Qualcomm is alleging that Apple violated a software license contract to benefit rival chipmaker Intel Corp for making broadband modems, the latest salvo in their longstanding dispute.

The dominant chipmaker filed a lawsuit in a California state court claiming Apple broke a contract when it emailed Qualcomm asking for "highly confidential" information about how its chips work in devices that run an unnamed carrier's network.

Qualcomm later asked the US authorities to ban imports of some iPhone and iPad models and filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission, accusing Apple's iPhones and iPads of infringing six of its mobile patents. But, recent news reports from The Wall Street Journal suggest Apple are designing products which don't require Qualcomm components, which would free Apple from Qualcomm's influence. Apple says Qualcomm is unfairly charging too much and leveraging its strong market position in chips illegally.

The spat between Apple and chipmaker Qualcomm just keeps getting nastier and nastier, and apparently Apple may finally have had enough of it.

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It's already attempted to in the past, as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus carried both Intel and Qualcomm chips, as did this year's iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. In addition, says Qualcomm, Apple requested proprietary information from Qualcomm and included an engineer from a competitor (read, Intel) in the email distribution list.

Apple reportedly has until June to make its decision, although that's a bit late in the game, considering that the Cupertino company usually announces its new iPhones in September.

In another USA case, Qualcomm alleges that it has six patents developed in the past four years that improve battery life in mobile devices and that 'Apple uses these technologies in its devices but is not paying for them'.

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