When you take each other to court, you best be prepared for the fallout outside of the courtroom. Lawsuits cut both ways, as Apple and Qualcomm are finding out. The two have been throwing accusations at each other over business practices and pricing and that might soon have a substantial effect on iPhone and iPad users next year. Sources are saying that Apple is working towards ridding next year’s mobile devices of any trace of Qualcomm, eying to replace it with modems from Intel and MediaTek instead.
At first glance, it might seem that Qualcomm will be the biggest loser if that happens. It would have lost a high-profile customer, which doesn’t help it’s chip selling business. Qualcomm reportedly makes less from selling chips and profits the most from its licensing business, which is exactly what lawsuits from Apple and investigations by governments are targeting.
But Apple also seeks to lose from such a change, at least for a while. It would mean that Apple would have to revamp its supply chain considerably. The change might not be that great, though. At the moment, it already mixes Intel and Qualcomm modems in its iPhones. According to sources, it is looking into replacing Qualcomm with rival chip maker MediaTek. Apple would prefer to diversify its sources in order to have bargaining leverage.
The slight problem with this situation is that neither Intel nor MediaTek have been known to match the throughput of Qualcomm’s modems. This could potentially mean that next year’s iPhones and iPads would exhibit slower than normal network speeds, which would, in turn, affect the overall user experience. Neither company has commented on the rumor but Qualcomm does say that its modems have already been tested for the next generation of iPhones, hinting that it will be status quo, at least for next year.
SOURCE: Wall Street Journal