Apple-Qualcomm settlement: What the influencers are saying

Philip Elmer-DeWitt

Slim pickings from the analysts, but no lack of commentary.


Aaron Rakers, Wells Fargo: Apple & Qualcomm Reach Settlement.The news comes after a 3/26 [International Trade Commission] ruling that banned some iPhone imports into the United States. Qualcomm has disclosed that it expects an incremental $2.00 of EPS (implying ~$2.4B) from the agreement as product shipments ramp. We see this move as positive for Apple as the company is able to put years of legal battles behind it and potentially position the company to offer a 5G capable iPhone in-line with its competitors. Market Perform, $160.

Florian Mueller, FOSSPatents: Clash of California tech giants is amicably resolved. There is a new patent license agreement as well as a new chipset supply deal in place. In other words, California’s two mobile hardware giants–Apple from the North, Qualcomm from the South–are working together again. An amicable resolution of a dispute that last more than two years and was a bit acrimonious at times… A trial that could have lasted, if one includes jury deliberations, 1.5 months or more has therefore ended after only 1.5 days. This would have been a huge and extremely difficult case for the jury to decide. As always, I congratulate both parties on their deal, and in this case I think either side would have had to take quite some risk by letting a jury render a verdict on complex commercial and partly technical issues.

Shira Ovide, Bloomberg Opinion: Qualcomm’s Apple Settlement Doesn’t End Risk to Its Business Model. And as long as Qualcomm continues to make money by selling chips and licensing patents, it will continue to attract the ire of other customers and government authorities… Apple most likely got what it wanted all along — a price break —  and won’t be stirring up trouble about Qualcomm’s business model any longer. That controversy has not ended, however, just because Apple removed itself from the fracas. It remains unclear whether Qualcomm’s business model can survive intact.

Ina Fried, Axios: Why it matters. The conflict pitted two giants of the tech industry against one another, threatening to both disrupt Qualcomm’s entire business model and potentially imperil Apple’s ability to bring 5G to the iPhone. Our thought bubble. By settling now, Qualcomm ideally preserves its licensing business while Apple increases its ability to have 5G iPhones on the market next year.

Jacob Kastrenake, The Verge: Apple and Qualcomm’s legal battle had the potential to reshape pricing around modems as a critical time in the mobile phone market just as 5G is starting to take shape. If Apple had won, it could have secured lower prices for itself and potentially made it easier for competitors to Qualcomm to build their own alternatives. If Apple had lost, Qualcomm may have been able to secure even higher fees going forward, further taking hold of the modem market amid a generational change. For both sides, the stakes may just have been too high.

More as they catch my eye.