The ongoing battle between Apple and Qualcomm continued on Thursday (Jan. 3), with the latter striking a decisive blow over the copyright infringement suit it brought against the American tech giant.
Qualcomm, a telecommunications and chip making company, said it posted security bonds amounting to $1.52 billion to start the enforcement of a court order from a German court. The move will ban the sale of certain iPhones in the country.
The German court mandated that Qualcomm post the bonds as a legal requirement. The court found that Apple infringed on Qualcomm patents on power-saving tech used by the phones. According to the court order, Apple must stop the sales and offers of all infringing phones in the country, and must also recall all infringing iPhones from third-party resellers. Apple is appealing the order, but, in the meantime, it goes into effect.
Qualcomm has made similar moves in the United States and China.
The news comes on the heels of what is shaping up to be a disastrous week for Apple, as it saw shares tumble 9 percent amid missed projections for iPhone sales.
Pelham Smithers, the managing director of the U.K.-based equity research firm Pelham Smithers Associates, said the company could be in for a very tough 2019. “We’ve seen (Apple) on valuations even lower than where they are today,” Smithers said in an email to CNBC. “And with the Qualcomm lawsuit, smartphone exhaustion and trade worries, we could easily test those historic lows, which would mean up to 25 percent downside from here.”
The upcoming 5G technology will be an important part of Apple’s plan going forward, Smithers said. "Ultimately, they (Apple) are a consumer solutions company, and the first step to that is the hardware. And then it’s what the hardware can do with the software,” Smithers said during an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Dec. 27. “So as we move into the 5G era, it is the effectiveness of the handsets, of their tablets in this environment, either from an enterprise viewpoint or a consumer viewpoint, that will be key.”