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Apple Is Designing iPhones, iPads That Would Drop Qualcomm Components (wsj.com) 131

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source): Apple, locked in an intensifying legal fight with Qualcomm, is designing iPhones and iPads for next year that would jettison the chipmaker's components, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple is considering building the devices only with modem chips from Intel and possibly MediaTek because San Diego, Calif.-based Qualcomm has withheld software critical to testing its chips in iPhone and iPad prototypes, according to one of the people. Apple's planned move for next year involve the modem chips that handle communications between wireless devices and cellular networks. Qualcomm is by far the biggest supplier of such chips for the current wireless standard. The Apple plans indicate the battle with Qualcomm could spill beyond the courtroom feud over patents into another important Qualcomm business where it has the potential to send ripples through the smartphone supply chain.
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Apple Is Designing iPhones, iPads That Would Drop Qualcomm Components

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  • by mandark1967 ( 630856 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @08:15AM (#55462687) Homepage Journal

    cause company to consider alternatives...

    whoodathunkit?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      /r/iamverysmart

    • I am skeptical that Apple can go solo on manufacturing, especially with their market share on the wane. As far as I can see, swearing off Qualcomm just means buying more Samsung.

      • Apple already doesn't use Qualcomm CPUs, and doesn't use Samsung CPUs either. They have their own, manufactured by TSMC.

        They use Qualcomm radios in some models, but there are other radio suppliers out there (Intel). Apple has already used Intel radios in previous models.

        Other controllers are likely dime-a-dozen from several manufacturers that would be eager to supply Apple if they could manufacture the volume needed.

      • I am skeptical that Apple can go solo on manufacturing, especially with their market share on the wane. As far as I can see, swearing off Qualcomm just means buying more Samsung.

        Wow, Apple spinmods really don't like other people's opinions. Color me not surprised, this is 100% typical of Apple culture, that once great company. What happened.

    • Don't forget legal problems.

      Why is anyone surprised that Apple doesn't want to provide revenue used to pay for the lawyers they are fighting in court?

      Whether the lawsuit is justified or not, it would be more surprising if Apple WASN'T looking to eliminate Qualcomm.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @08:19AM (#55462705)

    Apple will not make any business with Qualcomm, will fund or buy better product elsewhere, and will render Qualcomm useless for everyone else.

    THIS is what you deserve when you abuse your supplier position asking too much royalties and suing your client to piss them off.

    Qualcomm will go bankrupt because they disrespected apple (one of their biggest client) for way too long!

    • by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @09:01AM (#55462957)
      There is a reason Qualcomm is in the position they are - they did a lot of R&D and pushed cellular forward. On the other hand Apple has done what, "invent" round corners?
      • by grub ( 11606 )
        courage |kerij|

        noun the ability to do something that frightens one: she called on all her courage to face the ordeal.
        Invented by Apple Inc. in 2016.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Well Apple invented nothing just like how ford didn't invent anything with Model T.

        Enough with that already.... its obvious.... and also obviously off topic.

        For your info Google, Samsung both formally backed Apple on this to prevent Qualcomm from further abusing their monopoly to raise prices further.

        see here [google.com.sg]

      • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @10:06AM (#55463397) Homepage Journal

        It's not like they design their own CPUs [wikipedia.org] or anything. That'd be crazytalk!

        So Apple designs almost every component in an iPhone except for the radio. Qualcomm thinks they're entitled to a percent of the whole device price because... well, I don't know. Because they're special or something. Is their magic radio really more valuable to an iPhone than to a cheap Android? Of course not. But they continue to want to charge Apple several times more for the exact same price just because they (think they) can. I can't imagine a plausible scenario in which Apple wouldn't design Qualcomm out of their supply line. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if they turned around and offered to license their non-Qualcomm radio at cost to anyone else who wants to use it.

        • by slew ( 2918 )

          Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if they turned around and offered to license their non-Qualcomm radio at cost to anyone else who wants to use it.

          Apple isn't designing a radio chip (yet). AFAIK, They are talking about designing in exclusively Intel (formerly infineon), or maybe even MediaTek radio chips. They have used Intel radios on previous phones (in markets that didn't value CDMA techology like USA and Korea), so it's no stretch to say they will do that in all their markets (and live with performance of inferior CDMA radios from these other suppliers).

          I don't think Apple has the authority to license Intel and MediaTek modems at cost. Also sin

          • Apple isn't designing a radio chip (yet).

            That's the rumor, anyway [extremetech.com] (to be taken with a large grain of salt, of course).

            Fair points regarding the SoC work. If you buy directly from Qualcomm, and Qualcomm says "we only sell this SoC with a modem onboard", then you're kind of stuck. If Apple goes through with designing their own, though, and offers it out under RAND, then that could be an enormous bargaining chip for Samsung down the road.

            • by slew ( 2918 )

              If Apple goes through with designing their own, though, and offers it out under RAND, then that could be an enormous bargaining chip for Samsung down the road.

              Why on earth would Apple want to give Samsung a bargaining chip against Qualcomm?

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org].

              I can't imagine any scenario where Apple would offer a chip to a competitor. Even if they did, why on earth would be offer it under RAND?

              Also, Samsung already supplies DRAM, NAND-Flash, and, OLED panels to Apple and in case you don't know Samsung also makes their own radio chip. Samsung already negotiated their own license with Qualcomm to make their own radio chips for their own phones. Sam

        • Based on the last IPhone that shipped with both Qualacom and Intel Radios randomly and the complaints this elicited with those that received inferior Intel radio's I'm not sure I'd agree. Qualacomm produces the best radio's in the market, this is a fact. A lot of this was tied to their market position, their sales volume allowed them to continually innovate on the radio, but anyone choosing to use something other than qualacomm for the radio is going to pick an inferior product.

          But there is something else t

        • It's not like they design their own CPUs [wikipedia.org] or anything. That'd be crazytalk!

          Considering that they bought those designs (and eventually the companies behind them) and merely iterated on them, it would be fair to say that they don't design their own processors. Certainly not to the level that AMD or Intel do. It's like saying Google made Google Earth. No, they bought it from Keyhole and iterated on it.

          • Considering that they bought those designs (and eventually the companies behind them) and merely iterated on them, it would be fair to say that they don't design their own processors.

            What part of that statement is true? If you say Apple doesn't design their own CPUs then no mobile company including Qualcomm designs their own CPUs.

            . Certainly not to the level that AMD or Intel do.

            You are aware that in the ARM area, AMD and Intel are behind Apple right in terms of actual design?

            It's like saying Google made Google Earth. No, they bought it from Keyhole and iterated on it.

            Your analogy would be true the day Google bought Google Earth and that they haven't made changes or updates in 13 years. If we take your logic, then no software company

            • I am aware of how ARM works. I was not comparing things in the ARM area. Just design work in general.

              And Google has not made any major changes to Google Earth since buying it from Keyhole. They've iterated. Which is fine. But it's not going to change the fact that they saw it and bought it.

              • I am aware of how ARM works. I was not comparing things in the ARM area. Just design work in general.

                Then to be clear by your standards, neither Qualcomm nor Apple nor Samsung nor any ARM chip maker designs their own chips? Qualcomm can just physically copy Samsung's chips and they would be fine with it? It's not really a new design according to you.

                And Google has not made any major changes to Google Earth since buying it from Keyhole. They've iterated. Which is fine. But it's not going to change the fact that they saw it and bought it.

                The release notes of Google Earth versions [wikipedia.org] say otherwise. And that's not including any changes to make Google Earth as a standalone versions on Linux, OS X, and Windows platforms over time. That also doesn't include changes to accommodate newer browsers and API

        • They can do whatever the fuck they want. Especially if they think they are are part of why they are successful. Microsoft allowed millions to use Windows for cheap and free while charging millions to businesses. It's their right to sell cheaper for market share. Same shit happens with medicine. First world countries pay many, many times more than poor countries. Sounds fucking whiny. Pay up or stop fucking whining.
          • First world countries pay many, many times more than poor countries. Sounds fucking whiny. Pay up or stop fucking whining.

            Windows and MS are not beholden nor agree to FRAND terms. That's the major hole in your logic.

      • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @10:06AM (#55463403)

        they did a lot of R&D and pushed cellular forward.

        That was fine, until they got greedy. Now Qualcomm is shooting themselves in the foot.
        They were in a good position, BUT abuse it too much, and people will find alternatives to your products and penalize your business -- even if this hurts Apple as well because of extra costs --- piss off someone too much, and they'll cut off their own nose to spite their face, Or in other words, they'll take vengeance against you even at a net cost to themself.

      • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @10:33AM (#55463637)

        There is a reason Qualcomm is in the position they are - they did a lot of R&D and pushed cellular forward. On the other hand Apple has done what, "invent" round corners?

        That's two false dichotomies isn't it? It implies that Qualcomm didn't use anti competitive practices in addition to doing R&D work. Also it implies that Apple hasn't done any R&D work because Qualcomm has. Both have.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There's a reason Apple is in the position they are - they did a lot of R&D and pushed smart phones forward. Let's not let anti-fanboyism get in the way of what Apple has accomplished in the field of smart phones.

      • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @11:20AM (#55463951)

        On the other hand Apple has done what, "invent" round corners?

        The iPhone basically defined and popularized what we consider the modern smartphone. The iPad did the same for tablets. They defined and popularized the graphical user interface on desktop PCs as well as quite a few other technologies. Any claim that Apple hasn't invented anything or done any R&D that has improved the industry is simply willful ignorance or foolish spite.

        Scoff if you want but someone has to turn those technologies that companies like Qualcomm develop into products that people actually buy. It's hard to argue anybody does a better job of that than Apple. There is a tremendous amount of invention in creating functional integrated products. Not bashing Qualcomm but without Apple they don't have nearly as big a market to sell into. Qualcomm and Apple have different strengths and are sell to different customers bases. Qualcomm sells to other companies and develops technology they can use to make products. Apple sells to individuals and integrates and adapts technology into a coherent product.

        • On the other hand Apple has done what, "invent" round corners?

          The iPhone basically defined and popularized what we consider the modern smartphone.

          Uh, I was using more fully-featured smart phones years before the iPhone. The only thing they popularized was the touch screen and lack of buttons. Everything else was 2 or 3 steps back from what Win Mo and Blackberry and others were doing. (And in 2017 I still fucking hate the fact that I can't get a physical keyboard on a decent phone.)

          • Uh, I was using more fully-featured smart phones years before the iPhone.

            Nearly every smartphone since the iPhone has followed the iPhone template and the ones that haven't have failed to find customers. My statement stands You may have had phones with technically more "features" than the early iPhones but not usable ones in most cases. There was NOTHING before the iPhone that was worth a shit for browsing the web and they weren't well integrated devices. The Blackberry did email fairly well but not much else. Nokia was the leading smartphone maker at the time and their sma

            • Nearly every smartphone since the iPhone has followed the iPhone template and the ones that haven't have failed to find customers. My statement stands You may have had phones with technically more "features" than the early iPhones but not usable ones in most cases. There was NOTHING before the iPhone that was worth a shit for browsing the web and they weren't well integrated devices. The Blackberry did email fairly well but not much else. Nokia was the leading smartphone maker at the time and their smartphones phones SUCKED to actually use. I know because I was using Nokia "smartphones" at the time - they technically had the features but good luck being productive with them. Microsoft's Windows phones were sort of slightly better versions of Palm devices but the interface still sucked. Microsoft was trying to cram desktop windows into a phone form factor and it never worked. Android hadn't really hit the scene yet and the other smartphones out there were more or less inconsequential and sucked.

              Wrong, my Win Mo 5/6 devices were far more feature filled and far more usable than the iPhone at the time. It had a full web browser, including the ability to copy and paste and upload files from the device. And if I wanted a better web browser I could run Opera. And I had fully-functional GPS via an external receiver and navigation via an application I paid for. Yup! I could buy and use 3rd party software! We just didn't call them "apps" at the time because we weren't fucking retards.

              The only bad thin

      • There is a reason Qualcomm is in the position they are - they did a lot of R&D and pushed cellular forward. On the other hand Apple has done what, "invent" round corners?

        Who cares? This isn’t a dick measuring contest to see who owns the best patents. This is about fair compensation for valid patents.

        Being compensated for your R&D work is fine. Licensing your patents for manufacturing is fine. Charging a per unit fee is fine. But the Supreme Court and other governing bodies around the world say that licensing for the right to manufacture your tech while ALSO charging a fee for each device that includes those parts is illegal because you exhausted your patent rights

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Apple is getting some of its own medicine, really, and Apple doesn't like it. To be honest, Qualcomm will be fine supplying its chips to other manufacturers, resulting in lots of different phones having faster network support than the iPhone of the year. Not a big deal for Qualcomm.

      Apple product is not that low-level, and given its dependence on the iPhone... it'd better find solutions.

      • Qualcomm will be fine supplying its chips to other manufacturers

        No, they won't "be fine". MediaTek is the low-cost king with their system-on-a-chip solutions that are bulkier but cheaper for the lower-end phones. Apple owns the high-end and losing their business will bite Qualcomm hard. Samsung also sells in the high end, and with that as their only significant customer, how much price pressure do you think Samsung can bring?

  • I'm no designer, but I'd have thought it was better if the components stayed in place.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fuck the free market, I want a competitive market.

    Good on Apple for making sure Qualcomm isn't the only player in the market.

  • by Zombie Ryushu ( 803103 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @08:31AM (#55462789)

    No Qual Comm would mean no CDMA. If they decide to put MediaTek chips for Cellular support it will happen to have the effect of drastically limiting Carrier Support for these devices.

    • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @08:41AM (#55462847)

      Cdma is being phased out anyway for LTE. It just means that Verizon will accelerate plans to phase out and shut down the cdma towers iin favor of the faster 4g LTE ones. (Which they are doing anyways)

      Qualcomm is so far in the wrong here it isn't even funny. They are trying to charge Apple two to three times for the same patent just because Apple has deep pockets. If no one else has to pay twice for the same patent. Not HTC not Nexus and Google.

      • People will complain about it, though - just like they did when AT&T shut down its 2G towers.

        • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @09:12AM (#55463015) Homepage Journal

          There's quite a bit of legacy hardware out there in the form of home alarm systems, car emergency systems (On Star, for example), that uses Qualcomm's CDMA. (That said, I have to admit to a lack of sympathy here, given that that technology was more or less a proprietary standard, and the manufacturers and various other companies that decided to build it into their devices should have known they were investing in something with a shelf life. But, hey, the people most affected by the shut down are the people who never made the decision to pick that particular technology.)

          Getting rid of 2G GSM is insane, it's the most reliable and ubiquitous voice cellular system in the world and it only needs about 600kHz to provide a bare bones service. AT&T shouldn't have dropped it.

          • by swb ( 14022 )

            I would say that it's a fair assumption that anyone who bought a cellular product in the last 15 years should have known it had a shelf life.

            I'm curious if 5G will wind up being long-term stable enough that the products that it goes into will become totally obsolete before their cellular modules do.

      • by Luthair ( 847766 )

        Qualcomm is so far in the wrong here it isn't even funny

        Why is that exactly?

        • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @10:27AM (#55463571)

          Why is that exactly?

          Qualcomm's abuse in essence is double/triple-dipping. Licensing technology based on their patent ONCE, that Apple pays the manufacturer for a component that Qualcomm received royalties for its manufacture, then demanding patent royalties directly from Apple for using the Qualcomm chip.

          Things are probably a little bit more complex than that, but in essence, attempting to double-dip is wrong because patent rights are "Exhausted" in each unit of product that you sell pursuant to the patent rights.

          E.G. Suppose you invent a new type of fencing material, you patent it, and you start selling it.
          If one of your customers resells some of the material they purchased from you to a neighbor, then you don't have a right to go to your customer and collect patent royalties.

          So it is with computer chips. Suppose I manufacture a video camera, and I want to use MP4-AVC encoding, so I buy H.264 encoder chip, and I use the chip to create a recording of captured content ---- H.264 is patented, so the manufacture of the chip had to pay royalties to license the patent.

          Since I did all my encoding with the chip that was licensed from the patentholder': the patent holders' for H.264 have no patent right to charge me royalties again off of the same patent to record encoded content from the chip to a storage medium ---- their patent rights in my product were exhausted, because I already paid for a product that was sold to me in compliance with their patent rights.

          Now it's true the end-user of my product could have to pay them royalties again, because they need to buy software or hardware to decode and/or
          re-encode my content to suit their needs, and the encoder or de-coder will have to use a licensed chip or be itself-licensed.

          Apple probably uses a camera module in their iPhone. In this hypothetical situation.... double/triple-dipping what Qualcomm is said to be doing would be like a patentholder going after OEMs of the Camera module I manufacture that incorporates their licensed H.264 chips demanding patent royalties, and also demanding patent royalties from ME, because I used one of their H.264 chips as a component of my design.

          Now consider how critical quality video compressed encoding formats are in this world....
          the kinds of protocols Qualcomm chips implement are just as if not more important for Cellular communications to work,
          and the alternatives to the chips Qualcomm licenses are greatly inferior in terms of reliability, speed/performance, and power efficiency.

          So Apple just switching out the Qualcomm parts could potentially in the short term mess up the user experience and cause all sorts of usability issues --- no small matter to completely switch to a different chipmaker's designs.

          • by Luthair ( 847766 )
            Isn't it ultimately up to Qualcomm how they license their patent - if the supplier didn't tell Apple they needed to license then thats on the supplier, if Apple knew and didn't bother thats on Apple. If Qualcomm charges a hypothetical $1 to the manufacturer and $1 to the product that isn't different than charging the supplier $2.
            • by mysidia ( 191772 )

              Isn't it ultimately up to Qualcomm how they license their patent

              Qualcomm can set out whatever private agreement they want with the manufacturer, but as soon as the manufacturer properly authorized to do so makes and sells the product to someone else (assuming the manufacturer isn't unlawfully infringing on the patent); all the patent rights involved in making and using that product the manufacturer is selling are exhausted [wikipedia.org].

              If Qualcomm charges a hypothetical $1 to the manufacturer and $1 to the pro

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        They are trying to charge Apple two to three times...

        The irony here is awesome.

      • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @10:19AM (#55463517)

        Cdma is being phased out anyway for LTE. It just means that Verizon will accelerate plans to phase out and shut down the cdma towers iin favor of the faster 4g LTE ones. (Which they are doing anyways)

        Voice on CDMA networks still operates over CDMA. Just like voice on GSM still operates over TDMA (which GSM had to abandon for wideband CDMA for 3G data - that's right, CDMA won the GSM vs CDMA war. Your GSM phone is jam packed with CDMA technology. That's why you could talk and use data at the same time on GSM handsets - they had a TDMA radio for voice, and a CDMA radio for 3G data. CDMA phones used a single radio for both, so couldn't do both at the same time.)

        This would be a moot point if everyone switched to VoLTE (voice over LTE). But the carriers have been reluctant to completely switch since their 2G and 3G networks still have better coverage than their LTE networks. It also makes their towers compatible with all devices allowing phone owners to use their handset with any carrier, which would increase competition and lower prices. And you can't be having that.

        Qualcomm is so far in the wrong here it isn't even funny. They are trying to charge Apple two to three times for the same patent just because Apple has deep pockets. If no one else has to pay twice for the same patent. Not HTC not Nexus and Google.

        I agree completely. (They're not charging 2-3x per se, they're trying to get Apple to re-pay to license patents that the supplier Apple bought the Qualcomm chips from has already paid to license. i.e. Qualcomm believes if a patent licensee sells a product using the patent, the buyer also needs to license the patent too. Kind of a value-added tax approach to patent licensing. If they succeed in court against Apple, the Android handset manufacturers are next.)

        But there's a good deal of karmaic justice here. Apple was the one who tried to argue in court that patent damage awards should be based on the entire price of the infringing product, rather than the value of the component which infringed. e.g. If a car offered GPS navigation as a factory option, and a GPS patent holder successfully sued for infringement, they should be awarded damages based on the value of the entire car, rather than the value of the GPS navigation unit.

        • Just to nitpick, GSM was 2G and TDMA only. UMTS was 3G and wideband CDMA (WCDMA).

          Admittedly, beyond layer 2, the packet format was pretty much identical (why reinvent the wheel?), they were two "separate" standards.

          Also, at some point UMTS HSPA was CDMA inside of TDMA inside of WCDMA. I think it became the poster child for over-engineering.

      • And phaseout, w/Apple joining with Intel, may mean Apple will save part of the $100+ in QualComm royalties.

        QualComm has shot itself in the foot.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Typical requirement is "RAND license," reasonable and non-discriminatory. Qualcomm must have agreed to license the CDMA patents when the standards committee approved making the standard depend on them. In spite of qcm sticker marketing campaign, other chips do support all current major carriers. It's a one-chip-does-all world now, mostly limited by antennas (or analog stage or something).

    • No Qual Comm would mean no CDMA.

      Qualcomm doesn't have monopoly power over CDMA anymore if it ever did -- its foundational patents expired years ago, and any live patents that are truly necessary to later CDMA standards are likely subject to FRAND licensing [wikipedia.org]. The proof in the pudding is that multiple other chipset manufacturers like MediaTek and HiSilicon have sold chips with CDMA support for some time, and Intel just released one of its own [intel.com].

      • On paper Qualcomm has to follow FRAND licensing. The complaint of Apple and others is that it does not. One of the complaints of Apple is that Qualcomm is charging them for licensing multiple times.
        • Not on CDMA, that was not an industry standard it was a wholly developed by Qualacomm. You can't build a cellphone that's functional without including CMDA technologies that aren't under a FRAND license agreement. This is the primary vehicle Qualacomm has been using to control the cellular radio market. Wanting it to be different doesn't change the reality that Qualacomm has deep patents in cellular technologies, many of which they pioneered. The cellphone likely wouldn't even exist without their developmen

          • You can't build a cellphone that's functional without including CMDA technologies that aren't under a FRAND license agreement.

            Which ones?

            Wanting it to be different doesn't change the reality that Qualacomm has deep patents in cellular technologies, many of which they pioneered.

            And those pioneering patents have expired, as I originally said. If you have evidence that shows otherwise, I'm happy to look at it.

        • On paper Qualcomm has to follow FRAND licensing. The complaint of Apple and others is that it does not.

          Yes, customers of Qualcomm chips are contesting Qualcomm's pricing structure, but that's a different facet of FRAND. The big picture is that a FRAND commitment prevents Qualcomm from arbitrarily withholding licenses from competing modem manufacturers who want to sell their own chips.

  • Qualcomm has continued to bully and push around it's customers for years now.

    I would think whatever the cost to Apple, it's a net positive.

  • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @09:05AM (#55462979)

    Back in my HW design days, we would routinely design 2-3x the products with different vendor's chips and either make a business decision to scrap the one(s) not chosen, or if we had the money and resources, bring both to market under the same product name. In a few cases (usually when dealing with Intel) that wasn't possible, there was usually some co-marketing money that demanded separate products, and the design had to be so different anyway that it really wasn't the same product anyhow. But in embedded, it's totally possible. It's not so much about secrecy as it is not putting all your eggs in one basket: sometimes the vendor you want doesn't deliver/has a critical bug/goes belly up, you need to be able to succeed anyway.

    I guess no one should treat this as news. We should simply assume that any hardware vendor is going to be designing with multiple options in mind. It's what they go to market with that is interesting (at least to day traders), and that's hard to guess until around launch time unless you have some well placed spies. Very likely most of the HW designers themselves do not know until they get sent to make the sweatshop not screw up.

    • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @09:27AM (#55463105)

      It is slightly newsworthy in that it hasn't been feasible to make phones without Qualcomm chips until recently. For smaller companies, it would take a lot of work not to use Qualcomm chips/tech that most companies end up paying Qualcomm's royalty fees as there was little they could do. With Intel trying to make modems and Apple willing to invest the necessary R&D to do so, it means trouble for Qualcomm. Because if Apple is successful, other companies like Samsung can use the same technology as Apple.

      I don't know who is right in the Qualcomm/Apple dispute but when a lot of money is at stake, companies will seek alternatives. At the heart of the dispute is $1B that Apple claims Qualcomm owes them for rebates. Apple says Qualcomm stopped delivering quarterly rebates in retaliation of Apple cooperating with the South Korean investigation.

      • Until the vendors can roll out LTE with voice over LTE (VoLTE) to cover the same area as UMTS, everyone will still be paying Qualcomm royalties. Qualcomm has the CDMA technology (which is used in WCDMA as the baseband for UMTS) all wrapped up in patents.

        There is also an issue with routing VOIP calls (VoLTE is basically a VOIP call) to emergency services along with the trouble of allowing a phone without a SIM to access enough of the network to make the emergency call over VoLTE.

  • Mediatek chips aren't exactly known for their quality.

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