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‘Bye, Qualcomm. Hello, MediaTek’ for future iPhone modem chips?

In Business by Alora Uy GuerreroLeave a Comment

One company’s loss is another company’s gain. That seems to be the case with Apple’s legal battle with Qualcomm over patents and licensing.

According to Taiwanese site DigiTimes‘ sources, MediaTek could stand to gain from the two tech giants’ dispute, as Apple is reportedly seeking a new baseband-modem-chipset supplier besides Intel to reduce its dependence on the San Diego-based mobile chipmaker.

Between 2011 and 2016, the Cupertino-headquartered company exclusively used Qualcomm modem chips for its smartphones. But in 2016 — and for the first time ever — Apple tapped Intel for 30 percent of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus units. This year, that number increased to 50 percent.

SEE ALSO: Cheapest iPhone around reportedly making a comeback in 2018

DigiTimes‘ sources said that Apple is looking at MediaTek as a candidate to absorb more of the remaining orders in 2018. They pointed out that the Taiwanese fabless-semiconductor firm “meets the three principles long followed by Apple in determining providers of chip solutions for its various product lines.”

The said principles are leading technological competitiveness, comprehensive product blueprints, and a reliable logistic support.

According to DigiTimes‘ sources, MediaTek ‘meets the three principles long followed by Apple in determining providers of chip solutions for its various product lines: leading technological competitiveness, comprehensive product blueprints, and a reliable logistic support.’

Many people may not like this development, considering that Qualcomm has been widely regarded as the superior modem-chipset maker. In fact, there have been reports stating that Apple has slowed down regular LTE performance on the big Q’s chip, so it would seem that all iPhone X units — whether they’re using an Intel or Qualcomm modem — perform equally. Or almost equally.

This was supposedly done by disabling some LTE-Advanced technologies that Qualcomm’s modem supports but Intel’s does not.

READ ALSO: An Android phone just embarrassed the iPhone X in a speed test

The two companies’ squabble began when Apple filed a $1-billion-lawsuit against Qualcomm in January 2017 for allegedly charging royalties for technologies the chipmaker has nothing to do with. Things have escalated since then. For a comprehensive chronology of events, read this Bloomberg Businessweek piece: Apple and Qualcomm’s Billion-Dollar War Over an $18 Part.

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Alora Uy Guerrero

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Editor-in-chief: Alora Uy Guerrero has over 15 years of experience as an editor for print and digital publications such as Yahoo. She took a year off from journalism to manage OPPO’s digital-marketing campaigns. When not busy freelancing as an editorial and social-media consultant, she’s working on Revü, a passion project — or probably traveling or obsessing over her furbabies and her favorite bands, movies, TV shows, and basketball teams.