During an interview on Thursday with Bloomberg, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf says that after years of bitter tension, his companies relation with Apple is “much more natural.” He adds that instead of fighting, the two companies are working together on future products and how to get them in the heads of customers as soon as possible.
Qualcomm is a business that produces chips it designs, but it also produces chips that itself didn’t design. Apple, who designs most of its own chips for devices gives Qualcomm the ability to make them, on the agreement that Qualcomm gets a royalty from sales. Apple in 2019 put up a whole lawsuit claiming it shouldn’t have to pay that royally.
The two companies finally came into a settlement in April of last year. The settlement included a 6-year agreement, resulted in Apple giving Qualcomm $4.5 billion, and lead Apple to agree to pay the royalties it first rejected. Apple sped up the agreement after realizing that Intel, another chip manufacturer that it was using for a short period of time while it was fighting with Qualcomm wasn’t meeting its standard while the latter was.
Qualcomm is also in an ongoing rift with Huawei, which Mollenkopf says uses their technology, but pays no licenses, the only company that doesn’t.
Mollenkopf also says that during the first quarter in China, Qualcomm saw a “substantial drop” in the market thanks to lower production, adding that in February the drop was higher than other months. Despite the drops, he says it did “rebound” in around 5 weeks and then returned to normal levels when compared to the same time last year.
He adds that the drop did mean that more smartphones transited onto 5G and that the Chinese consumer in the market is different than other regions, mostly based online.