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Qualcomm accuses Apple of stealing modem secrets and passing them to Intel for new iPhone chips

The plot just thickened yet again in the complex Apple vs. Qualcomm battle, as the latter has accused Apple of stealing “vast swaths” of its confidential information and trade secrets and then sharing code with Intel to improve the modems Intel made for Apple’s new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Qualcomm filed the new allegations in a case against Apple, CNBC reports. The company had already been arguing in the case that Apple has breached the master software agreement and wats the court to amend the new complaint to the existing lawsuit.

Qualcomm filed a suit against Apple this past November alleging that the company violated the agreement it signed with Qualcomm, a deal that requires the iPhone maker to allow Qualcomm to periodically ensure that the source code and tools it’s sharing with Apple are protected. The chip maker said that Apple has been preventing Qualcomm from auditing the use of its code. Now it wants to add this new complaint to the case, alleging that Apple passed along proprietary information to Intel so it could to improve the modem chips used in Apple’s new iPhones.

Qualcomm explains that it’s filing its complaint against Apple only now because it has just discovered Apple’s alleged wrongdoing while going through emails between Apple and Intel engineers that were provided to Qualcomm during discovery in the current case. Per CNBC, Apple engineers repeatedly provided source code and other confidential information to Intel so they could improve Intel’s chips.

The report also says that Qualcomm is looking to put pressure on Apple to settle, but Qualcomm’s general counsel Donald Rosenberg said in a statement that this case stands on its own and would have been filed regardless of the ongoing dispute between the two companies.

Qualcomm’s new claim comes just days after the iPhone XS launch. Apple on Friday started selling two of its three new 2018 iPhone models, including the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. Both devices utilize Intel modems instead of Qualcomm modems, as confirmed by an iFixit teardown.

Qualcomm Accuses Apple of Stealing LTE Modem Trade Secrets and Giving Them to Intel [Updated]

Qualcomm has accused Apple of stealing confidential information and trade secrets, and passing them on to rival chipmaker Intel, according to a court document filed Monday and reported by several media outlets.

For background, Qualcomm agreed that…

With new iPhones using Intel LTE modems, Qualcomm’s CEO wants to settle with Apple

Despite Tim Cook’s public proclamation that he hates litigation, it’s no secret that Apple has no qualms about engaging in protracted legal battles when it feels it’s in the right. Indeed, we saw this play out during the course of Apple’s legal tussle with Samsung which dragged on for a full seven years before finally settling this past June.

Though the Samsung case is now a thing of the past, Apple currently finds itself embroiled in another high-stakes legal battle, this time with Qualcomm. As a quick refresher, the legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm began as a dispute over royalty payments pertaining to the LTE modems used on the iPhone. Since then, the dispute has exploded into a full-fledged patent litigation suit, with Qualcomm last year filing a number of patent infringement claims against Apple over technologies pertaining to power-management chips, cellular connectivity, and more.

With courtroom battles on the horizon, not to mention exorbitant legal bills, Bloomberg reports that both companies may be open to settling. From Apple’s end, this isn’t terribly surprising as Tim Cook has publicly stated his preference to settle in high-profile litigation cases. And with respect to Qualcomm, CEO Steve Mollenkopf subtly hinted during an interview with Bloomberg TV that his company might be open to a settlement deal as well.

“The environment is such that a deal could get done,” Mollenkopf explained. “Traditionally, legal milestones create an environment for both parties to change their perspective.”

Mollenkopf is now even talking about Qualcomm and Apple working together again. That’s an ambitious goal, given that Apple has stripped Qualcomm chips from iPhones in favor of modems from arch rival Intel Corp.

If Qualcomm continues to improve its chips at a greater rate than rivals, there’s no reason why Apple and Qualcomm wouldn’t work together again — after resolving their legal fracas, he said.

Indeed, word of Apple abandoning Qualcomm was a rumor for quite some time, with Qualcomm confirming it this past July when Qualcomm CFO George Davis told investors: “We believe Apple intends to solely use our competitors’ modems rather than our modems in its next iPhone release. We will continue to provide modems for Apple legacy devices.”

That aside, it’s worth noting that talking about a settlement is easy; actually coming to mutually agreeable terms may prove to be much more challenging.

Galaxy S10 tipped to have sophisticated tech you won’t find in any rivals

The Galaxy S10 will launch as early as CES 2019 according to some recent reports, and we already have plenty of rumors detailing Samsung’s most exciting Galaxy S update in years. The Galaxy S10 will mark the 10-year anniversary of the Galaxy S line, and the phone is supposed to deliver a bunch of features not seen on previous models. Now a new report says that the phone will have a component unlike any other device from Samsung’s competitors.

Citing Taiwan Economy Daily, Korean news site ETNews says that the Galaxy S10 will have an ultrasound-based fingerprint sensor embedded into the screen. Ultrasonic sensors use sound waves to read a fingerprint touching the screen. Fingerprints are made of tiny ridges of skin, and sound bounces off them to create accurate 3D maps of fingers.

Unlike optical sensors, ultrasound ones would work even with dirty screens since they would not require a direct line of sight to the finger. More importantly, the sensor doesn’t have to be placed within the layers of the screen. Instead, it would be placed at the back of the panel and it would not interfere with the screen design or performance.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that Samsung favors ultrasound sensors over optical ones, but this is the first time it has been revealed that Samsung will use Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon Sense ID ultrasonic sensor. Qualcomm unveiled the first-gen sensor in 2015, launching a second version last year that was already used by some Chinese device makers. A third-gen sensor is coming to the Galaxy S10 series, and it’s unknown whether other Galaxy S10 rivals will make use of the same component.

The report notes that Samsung O Films and Taiwan General Interface Solutions (GIS) are supplying the ultrasound fingerprint sensor modules and that investments are being made to ramp up production. Reports dating back several years have said that Samsung wants to place fingerprint sensors under the screen, but Samsung delayed this particular feature as it was dealing with various development and manufacturing issues.

Other Samsung phones are also expected to come with in-display fingerprint tech, but cheaper models will use optical sensors instead of ultrasonic ones.

Apple Wins Pre-Trial Motions Against Qualcomm as Judge Scolds Chip Maker

United States Magistrate Judge Mitchell D. Dembin granted Apple some important pre-trial motions in their ongoing patent battle with Qualcomm.Read More…