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Bullyboy Apple just blew a $500m hole in our wallet, cries Qualcomm

Chip biz says Cook's crew has commanded tech world to withhold patent dosh

Qualcomm claims Apple has ordered chip manufacturers to stop sending royalty checks to the Snapdragon designer amid the pair's patent licensing war.

On Friday, lawyers for Qualy blamed the Cupertino iPhone racket for cutting half a billion dollars from its next quarterly forecast due to lower-than-expected royalties.

Qualcomm and Apple are in the midst of a licensing dispute over whether the iPhone maker is being overcharged by Qualcomm for patents Apple says it never actually used.

Apple is seeking $1bn it says it was overcharged and is now refusing to pay further for the licenses in question.

"We've been trying to reach a licensing agreement with Qualcomm for more than five years but they have refused to negotiate fair terms. Without an agreed-upon rate to determine how much is owed, we have suspended payments until the correct amount can be determined by the court," Apple said in a statement to El Reg.

"As we've said before, Qualcomm's demands are unreasonable and they have been charging higher rates based on our innovation, not their own."

The way Qualcomm tells it, Apple has been underpaying its chip suppliers for parts and telling them not to pay Qualcomm for licensing. The manufacturers then, with Apple's backing, are withholding their payments, and Qualcomm is left to tell investors that it will be missing its revenue targets to the tune of $500m and could see as much as a 21 per cent year-over-year decline.

"While Apple has acknowledged that payment is owed for the use of Qualcomm's valuable intellectual property, it nevertheless continues to interfere with our contracts," said Qualcomm executive vice president and general counsel Don Rosenberg.

"Apple has now unilaterally declared the contract terms unacceptable – the same terms that have applied to iPhones and cellular-enabled iPads for a decade. Apple's continued interference with Qualcomm's agreements to which Apple is not a party is wrongful and the latest step in Apple's global attack on Qualcomm."

This isn't the first claim by Qualcomm of Apple meddling. Less than two weeks ago, the royalty gap was cited in its last quarterly report. At that time, Qualcomm warned that Apple could further hurt its bottom line if it continued to withhold payment, and now it seems that scenario is going to become reality. ®

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