The Apple – Qualcomm deal post

2 minutes estimated reading time

The Apple and Qualcomm deal ceased legal hostilities and lots of people have kicked around theories. But no one seems to definitively know what happened. And what the implications are for Apple.

  • If Apple was on such a sticky wicket, why didn’t it make a deal with Qualcomm earlier? A judge had asked them to sit down right at the beginning and they got nowhere
  • Did Intel explain to Apple that it wasn’t going to hit its engineering targets on the 5G modem (a la IBM and the PowerPCs that used to power Macs)? Or did Apple cut Intel off at the knees?
  • What does this all mean for Intel processors and components in Macs? From CPUs to USB C connectivity Apple is dependent on Intel. Even if Apple decided to move to an ARM architecture they would still likely need Intel foundries and connectivity processors. Before you talk about the Mac now being a small part of the business. Consider what mobile apps and even the iOS is developed upon. Secondly a Mac user is far more likely to be an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV customer
  • From a functional handset perspective I am not convinced about the benefit of 5G. But from a marketing perspective it could be very damaging to Apple eventually. How far behind would Apple developing a new 5G solution from scratch be? It would be reasonable to expect for Qualcomm to service other clients first and then only put under performing engineers on Apple as a punishment duty. Given that Qualcomm laid off engineering teams, engineers may only work on Apple grudgingly. Is it even viable for Apple to bother with 5G iPhone? If we look at history, the Qualcomm – Nokia IP deal was the beginning of the end for the Nokia handset business in 2007. Apple might lose money up front, but it would save on the kind of value destruction Nokia went through
  • What is the state of Apple’s relationships with the rest of its supply chain and can it expect a kicking?
  • Whilst mobile carriers wouldn’t be happy to have a single OS eco-system in smartphones, they’ve had zero success in championing other platforms (BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, WebOS and SailfishOS). All of this would make them even more beholden to Google. So would an alternative OS’ spring up to fill the iPhone gap?
  • Can Qualcomm use this to try and smother antitrust investigations outside the US?