Qualcomm Accuses Apple of Giving Its Confidential Source Code to Intel

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 25 Sep 2018

Thought the legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple was over? Well, Qualcomm has made some explosive statements against Apple accusing it of stealing its trade secrets and source code and sharing it with Intel.

In its filing with the Superior Court of California, Qualcomm alleges that Apple has stolen “vast swaths” of its source code to allow for inferior quality Intel modems to catch up with that of Qualcomm in terms of performance.

The San Diego chip maker says that Apple prevented it from auditing the use of its source code which first led Qualcomm to sue Apple.

Now though, Qualcomm is accusing Apple of a far major wrongdoing. It alleges that Apple engineers shared Qualcomm’s source code and other confidential information with Intel engineers to help improve their baseband. There’s no evidence backing Qualcomm’s explosive statements, though it makes references to the back and forth communication between Apple and Intel engineers.

Qualcomm argues it was being prevented from auditing Apple’s use of its source code and sued. Now it is alleging a far larger misdeed: the stealing of that same source code and tools, for the express purpose of helping Intel overcome engineering flaws in its chips that led to their poor performance in iPhones.

Qualcomm says that this issue stands on its own against Apple and the chip maker would have filed it in the court irrespective of whether the two companies were already battling it out in the court or not.

Monday’s filing can be seen as the latest salvo in that dispute, designed to put pressure on Apple to settle. But Qualcomm’s general counsel, Donald Rosenberg, told CNBC this case stands on its own and would have been filed regardless of the on-going dispute between the two companies.

“Unlawful use of Qualcomm’s valuable trade secrets to try to help a competitor catch up irreparably harms us and must not be allowed to continue,” he said.

Our Take

If true, the revelations could definitely tilt the results in Qualcomm’s favor. Given that Apple wanted to reduce its reliance on Qualcomm for its modem requirement as soon as possible, it is possible the company’s engineers shared Qualcomm’s source code with that of Intel.

[Via CNBC]