Apple Forced to Sell Old iPhones After Legal Battle with Qualcomm

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After German courts sided with chipmaker Qualcomm in a legal battle, Apple is forced to sell older models of their flagship device until a resolution can come forth.

Apple has always been a strong force within the tech industry. Starting out as a young company specializing in computers, it made huge waves when it first introduced the iPhone back in 2007. Now onto its 20th version, Apple’s hold on the global smartphone community remains as tight as ever. However, in some parts of the world, Apple’s strength is faltering.

Even more alarming is the continuous legal battles between Qualcomm in Apple. In the United States, a hefty $1 billion lawsuit was filed against Qualcomm by Apple, with a $145 million lawsuit being filed in China as well. Qualcomm has also set up its own countersuits in Germany and China

In its latest clash with Qualcomm, Apple lost its capability to produce products that use Intel modems in Germany.

This legal battle occurred after Qualcomm accused Apple of using technology that violated its patents. Revolving around a feature called “envelope tracking” which allows battery life improvement while sending and receiving signals, Qualcomm asserted that some non-Qualcomm chips that Apple used in creating their phones violated and infringed some patents and that these phones should be removed from sale. Qualcomm accused Apple of stealing their valuable trade secrets, giving them to Intel to increase and improve the performance of the chips that Apple used in the place of Qualcomm chips in their more recent products

German courts sided with Qualcomm on the issue and banned the sale of iPhones that used chips that infringed upon the patents that Qualcomm had. This prompted Apple to completely remove their stocks both from retail and from online stores while they pursue an appeal.

Controversy

Apple seems to have their own version of the story, however. A spokesperson from Apple claims that Qualcomm is using patents that they purchased or those that have nothing to do with cellular technology. He believes that these injunctions are only being used to try to get Apple and other industry players to succumb to their bidding. Furthermore, Apple supporters believe that Qualcomm is working to eliminate competition by any means necessary, even those corporations who they are working together with.

The decision by the German courts leaves Apple with no choice but to revert to their older, slower Qualcomm chips so that they can ship and sell their iPhones to Germany. However, not only does this compromise the quality of the product, but it also allows consumers to be fooled by the resellers in India, prompting a negative perception towards Apple for selling them things with lower quality.  

Only the iPhone 7 and 8 will be returning to Germany for restocking. This means that access to the higher Apple market is temporarily unavailable German population.

Moving forward

The most likely move for Apple next is to create a way to improve their policies to make sure that they could come in and infiltrate the German market. Not being able to access the market right now is bad news for Apple, since their current hold on the German population is weaker compared to their competitors. With the addition of Qualcomm demanding for Apple to use their products, a lower quality iPhone 7 or 8 will not impress German consumers, leading to a further drop in consumer interest within Germany. In order for Apple to regain strength in the European country, it needs to settle an agreement with Qualcomm that will allow it to produce more modern iPhones with better quality.