• Qualcomm just accused Apple of giving its trade secrets to rival chipmaker Intel.
  • The accusation is the latest in a round of legal troubles between Qualcomm and Apple.
  • According to Qualcomm, the company has proof of these allegations against Apple but hasn’t publicly disclosed that proof yet.


Despite the fact that the chipsets in iPhones are created in-house at Apple, the company still uses third-party chips for things like smartphone modems. For years, Qualcomm was the sole provider of modem chips for iPhones, but Apple switched exclusively to Intel earlier this year — a big loss for Qualcomm.

However, Intel modems are apparently not as good as Qualcomm’s, and Qualcomm has now levied a huge allegation against Apple, via CNBC. According to Qualcomm, it has proof that Apple provided Intel with Qualcomm trade secrets in an alleged effort to get Intel’s product to the same level as Qualcomm’s.

These new allegations are likely going to get added to an already-existing lawsuit filled with earlier allegations of Apple violating the so-called “master software agreement” Apple signed with Qualcomm years ago when the companies first started working together. It’s suspected that Qualcomm’s lawyers are piling the allegations on in an effort to get Apple to settle rather than go to court.

Editor's Pick

The earlier “master software agreement” gave Qualcomm periodic access within Apple’s top secret areas to ensure that Qualcomm’s tools and software were secure. Qualcomm says it made repeated good faith efforts to perform these check-ups, but Apple refused.

Now, these new allegations seem to paint a picture of Apple reneging on Qualcomm contracts as well as dealing dirty behind the company’s back. Apple has yet to release a comment on the new allegations.

According to Qualcomm, the proof it has that Apple supplied Intel with Qualcomm’s trade secrets is in unearthed correspondence between the two companies as well as historical source code edits. However, Qualcomm did not provide these proofs to the public, and likely won’t unless the case goes to trial.

Before these new allegations, the Qualcomm-Apple case was expected to go to trial in April of 2019. It is unclear if these new allegations will push that date back, but Qualcomm hopes the expected trial date will remain (or Apple will just settle).

NEXT: Next Qualcomm mobile chip might have a dedicated NPU