Modem for smartphones, Intel against Qualcomm

Following the agreement signed between Apple and Qualcomm, Intel has sold its modem division to the Cupertino company. According to the Santa Clara chipmaker, this decision resulted in losses of several billion dollars due to the misconduct of Qualcomm.

Qualcomm's modems are present in almost all Android smartphones, while Apple has used Intel modems in recent iPhone 11. One of the terms of the agreement signed between Apple and Qualcomm is Apple's purchase of Qualcomm modems. This means that Intel would have lost its most important customer. According to the Santa Clara company, its exit from the modem market was caused by the excessive royalties requested by Qualcomm for the so-called FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) patents.

There FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has established that their value is calculated based on the price of the entire smartphone, instead of only the Qualcomm component. The Court ruled in favor of the FTC, asking Qualcomm to renegotiate the contracts, but Qualcomm appealed. Intel submitted a memory to support the FTC, as Qualcomm had a anti-competitive behavior.

Qualcomm has maintained its monopoly through a carefully developed and implemented system for many years. This scheme consists of anticompetitive conduct designed to exclude competitors, capturing billions in illegal earnings.

Intel has tried to offer one more choice to OEMs, investing billions of dollars, hiring thousands of people and acquiring two companies, but "could not overcome the artificial and insurmountable barriers to fair competition created by the Qualcomm system and this year was forced out of the market".

Intel still sells LTE modems for PCs, while for future devices 5G requested the collaboration of MediaTek.

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