Qualcomm reportedly to push for iPhone import ban in US

Qualcomm reportedly to push for iPhone import ban in US

Qualcomm plans to ask the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban imports of iPhones, which are built in Asia, according to a Bloomberg Technology report.

Qualcomm apparently is looking to have the ban put in place ahead of Apple's rumored iPhone 8 / iPhone 7S launch this September, which could put a massive dent in the 10th anniversary celebration of the iconic smartphone line. The iPhone itself contributes to 60% of sales.

The thing is, a ban would be highly unlikely.

Then in April, Apple announced that it would stop paying Qualcomm for stop paying royalties to the chip-maker. Apple then made a decision to halt payments until a court decided how much should be paid.

Qualcomm and Apple are already at loggerheads over the possible dirty trick played in the iPhone7 to ensure that Intel powered iPhone models performed the same as the ones with Qualcomm inside. I don't believe anyone's going to decide to enjoin the iPhone based on that.

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Qualcomm may even be looking beyond the United States to courts in Germany, China and the United Kingdom for justice. Apple claimed that it "has been overcharged billions of dollars on Qualcomm's illegal scheme", though the suit seeks damages of just under $1 billion. Meanwhile Qualcomm cut its financial forecast this quarter by $500 million based on its expectation of not receiving any licensing payments from Apple. There's plenty of case law around that subject. "If that carries on for the rest of the year, nearly one-third of its lucrative licensing revenue, most of which is profit, will disappear", thundered one. The company responded by saying Apple "intentionally mischaracterized our agreements and negotiations, as well as the enormity and value of the technology we have invented, contributed and shared with all mobile device makers through our licensing program".

Apple says it is withholding payments because it doesn't know what to pay. Up until the iPhone 7, Qualcomm was the exclusive supplier of that crucial part.

As Bloomberg reports, Apple CEO Tim Cook said of efforts to block iPhone sales during a conference call with analysts this week: "That's both the price and the business terms". Unless we are able to, over time, settle between us on some amount, but right now we're depending upon the courts to do that. And we strongly believe we're in the right, and I'm sure they believe that they are.

Kulbinder Garcha with Credit-Suisse writes that "we believe the escalation of the dispute is unprecedented and will not go very far".

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