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Apple is unable to develop a modem for 5G smartphones due to two Qualcomm patents, the report says.

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Just the other day, we showed you a tweet from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, known worldwide as Apple’s most insightful analyst. The tweet states that Apple’s plan to develop its own 5G modem chip for the iPhone, which of course should have been made by TSMC, has failed. Apple’s plan to equip 80% of its phones by 2023 with an Apple 5G modem chip (leaving Qualcomm with a 20% share) has failed.

Apple’s success in developing its own 5G smartphone modem is hindered by two Qualcomm patents

Qualcomm will now supply Apple with 100% 5G modems for the 2023 iPhone 15 lineup, leaving Apple with a bad taste in its mouth. Remember, Apple paid $1 billion to buy Intel’s modem smartphone business. There has been speculation that after Apple reached an agreement with Qualcomm to end all lawsuits between the pair, Apple would use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 5G modem chips for several years when developing its own component.
Last November, the air was full of talk that Apple will introduce its own 5G modem chip, which will be built by TSMC using its 4nm process node. The smaller the process node number, the greater the number of transistors in the chip, which makes the chip more powerful and energy efficient. Apple is trying to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm, and Kuo said Apple will continue to work on building its own modem chip.
According to 9to5Mac, Apple’s failure to develop its own 5G modem chip was not the result of Apple’s failure to develop such a component. Instead, a new report points out that the problem stems from a pair of Qualcomm patents that prevent Apple from completing development of its own 5G modem. This may be due to a Supreme Court decision announced this week in which the court said it would not hear the iPhone maker’s appeal. which seeks to overturn a couple of Qualcomm patents.
Florian Müller, writing for FossPatents (via The Apple patent) ties it all together and even goes back to the aforementioned agreement between Apple and Qualcomm to explain that Apple considered Qualcomm to be the only reliable supplier of 5G smartphone modems and felt that Intel was on the wrong track. As a result, Apple agreed to the settlement in desperation, knowing that it would need to get continuous supplies of 5G modem chips from Qualcomm until it could develop its own.

Months before the agreement with Qualcomm was announced, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke on CNBC and said, “The problem we have with Qualcomm is that they have a no-license and no-chip policy. This, in our opinion, is illegal. … And then, secondly, they are required to offer their portfolio of patents on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis, and they don’t. They charge exorbitant prices.”

Apple will have to circumvent Qualcomm’s current patents

Cook said that Apple will fight Qualcomm to the very end. But one can almost feel the same desperation Cook felt when it became apparent that worshiping Qualcomm was his best course of action. And last March, the Federal Trade Commission refused to label Qualcomm’s despised “no license, no chips” policy as anti-competitive.

Some legal experts believe that any future lawsuits initiated by Apple are likely to fail. This puts Apple in a difficult position. He could license patents, but Qualcomm is not known as Walmart intellectual property. In fact, as Tim Cook pointed out, he is known for charging high prices even for the patents required for the standard (SEP). These are patents granted for patents that cover the industry standards needed to create a particular product. These patents are expected to be offered at a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) price.

Regardless of any deal it strikes with Qualcomm, Apple will no doubt continue trying to build its 5G smartphone modem around Qualcomm’s patents, though the Cupertino team is apparently stuck until that happens.


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