Samsung backs Apple in Qualcomm lawsuit: What's the catch?

As a strong rival, why would Samsung back Apple in this case?

samsung vs apple
Samsung backs Apple in Qualcomm case. Reuters

The Computer and Communications Industry Association—with huge members Samsung, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Intel, and Facebook—approached the US International Trade Commission (ITC) earlier this week, lobbying for the dismissal of Qualcomm's charge against Apple demanding the latter to halt the import of iPhone products. Samsung, through the CCIA, has expressed support towards Apple's legal debacle filed by chip manufacturer Qualcomm.

The technology network's chief executive Ed Black expressed his qualms over Qualcomm's potential monopoly in the technology market once the court favours its demand. "What's at stake here is certainly the availability of iPhones and other smartphones at better prices", says Black in a statement.

"If the ITC were to grant this exclusion order, it would help Qualcomm use its monopoly power for further leverage against Apple and allow them to drive up prices on consumer devices".

The case

Early in July, Qualcomm announced that it is pursuing a case against the Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker at the US ITC and US District Court, Southern District of California for violating six of its patents.

In January, Apple took Qualcomm to the court where it was found out that the latter had asked Apple to pay more for the technology it is using for the iPhone. Apple, like many other mobile device manufacturers, uses Qualcomm's technology that enables the iPhone to connect to a mobile network (3G, 4G).

As Apple charges more for its innovated products, Qualcomm wanted Apple to pay them extra as well. But Apple is bent to not pay Qualcomm more than what was first entered into agreement years ago, saying, "We shouldn't have to pay them for technology breakthroughs they have nothing to do with".

Samsung's support

Samsung, being the strongest rival of Apple in the smartphone competition, takes a stand to support Apple in this dispute. While it is not a secret in the industry that both companies have been throwing bombs at each other to keep and lure more consumers under their belt, what binds Samsung and Apple in times like this is that they are protecting the rights of the consumer to reasonable prices of their products.

Suppliers' support

Device manufacturers are not alone behind Apple as its partner suppliers also expressed their position in this battle. Foxconn's parent company Hon Hai Precision Industry, Wistron, Pegatron, and Compal Electronics believe Qualcomm infringed US anti-trust law, the Sherman Act.

Apple's partner suppliers lodged a counterclaim on Tuesday at US District Court, Southern District of California denying the validity of Qualcomm's lawsuit. The companies' lawyer, Atty. Theodore J. Boutrous, emphasises that Qualcomm is only seeking to "punish our clients for working with Apple".

The bottom line

The bottom line here is: Qualcomm is taking advantage of its technology to funnel millions of dollar more, not only from Apple but from almost all smartphone makers who are using its technology. If the ITC and US District Court allow Qualcomm's horrible request to ask for more bucks from them, these manufacturers will be forced to levy high prices for these devices. And as a result, the consumers will shoulder the impact of this hullaballoo.

This article was first published on July 23, 2017
Related topics : Samsung