When it comes to Qualcomm’s ongoing battle with Apple, one should envision that final showdown between two veteran gunslingers.
Something is about to happen, and very soon — the outcome being highly unknown.
“We feel like we are probably near the end of this game — we have a lot of legal milestones approaching,” Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon Told Yahoo Finance. “We see 2019 as having events that will drive resolution one way or another.”
Apple long used Qualcomm’s chips in its iPhones to help them connect to wireless networks. But Apple (AAPL) sued Qualcomm (QCOM) in early 2017, claiming that the chipmaker taking a slice of the selling price of phones — a common practice — as a patent license was illegal.
Qualcomm denied the allegation. In turn, it said Apple owes it $7 billion in unpaid royalties. The case is set for trial in early 2019.
A resolution that brings certainty on the relationship would be welcome news to each company’s shareholders.
For Qualcomm’s part, getting back in the groove with the Apple ecosystem is important ahead of its 5G push. The roll-out of ultra high-speed 5G networks by Verizon and AT&T — and subsequent phones by Apple, Alphabet and Samsung — are expected to spawn a major upgrade cycle among consumers.
This week Qualcomm took the wraps off its first ‘5G ready’ chip dubbed the Snapdragon 855. It will be deployed to most Android-powered phones in 2019.
But being inside 5G iPhones sometime in 2020 would be a good win for Qualcomm, too.
Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi
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