Qualcomm: Ban US iPhone Imports

Apple stopped paying hefty licensing fees to Qualcomm for its smartphone intellectual property, and so the chipmaker is asking the U.S. government to ban iPhones from being imported here, Bloomberg News said Wednesday.

The newswire cited an unnamed source it said was “familiar with the company’s strategy.” Qualcomm will look to ask the International Trade Commission (ITC) to block the Apple phones from being brought into the U.S. from Asia, where they are manufactured. The move would occur ahead of the phone’s newest model coming to market this fall. Going to the ITC would ostensibly be faster than going through the courts.

The dispute itself comes amid Qualcomm’s practice of charging a percentage of smartphone prices tied to patents that it holds — in essence, license payments, which are highly profitable to Qualcomm. The patents help govern data and voice transmission.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a conference call with analysts Tuesday, according to Bloomberg, that Qualcomm has not played fair as has been dictated by licensing rules, and stated that “I don’t believe anyone’s going to decide to enjoin the iPhone based on that. There’s plenty of case law around that subject. But we shall see.”

The iPhone, in the meantime, accounts for 60 percent of Apple’s top line, while the U.S. is 40 percent of revenues.


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