Qualcomm may have dealt a big blow to the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit against the company with an admission coming from, out of all companies, Apple.
Bloomberg reports that testimony from Apple’s director of cellular system architecture, Matthias Sauer, revealed on Friday that the iPhone maker found Qualcomm to be the only vendor that could deliver LTE modems to its standards for the iPhone 5 in 2012 — Broadcom and Ericsson were also considered. That continued to be the case until 2016, when Intel was introduced as a co-supplier for the iPhone 7’s LTE modems.
Sauer also said that the company decided against buying Intel modems for the 2014 iPad model because Apple’s spec did not require advanced features such as carrier aggregation.
The government is charging that Qualcomm behaved anti-competitively and has extorted patent licensing fees from its clients at well above market value. Should the FTC win, the impacts of this suit could completely change the fee structure Qualcomm will have to offer for its patents and perhaps open up more competition on existing CDMA and LTE technology.
Another witness from Apple, COO Jeff Williams, claimed on the stand last week that Qualcomm had cut supplies when licensing negotiations fell through. Intel was chosen as the alternative vendor.
Four more sessions will take place in San Jose federal court. The case is expected to be considered by Judge Lucy Koh from February 1.