Apple Forced To Use Qualcomm Modem Chips To Escape German iPhone Sales Ban

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Apple is now having to face the music with respect to iPhone sale in Germany. Earlier this year, Qualcomm won an injunction against Apple for patent infringement due to the Intel 4G LTE modems used in its iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8/iPhone 8 Plus devices. The injunction resulted in Apple having to pull the iPhones in question off store shelves in Germany.

Now, we're learning that Apple will be allowed to sell the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 in Germany, but there's just one big stipulation: the company has to use Qualcomm modems instead of its favored Intel counterparts. This is an excruciating blow to Apple, as the company has purposely avoided using Qualcomm components to get around the patent and licensing fees, and now it's being forced to come crawling back to its former supplier.

Given that Intel and Qualcomm are pretty much the only game in town with respect to high performance 4G LTE modems that are proven to work with iPhones, Apple says that it has "no choice" but to make this move and modify its iPhone to comply with the court order to so that sales can recommence.

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"Qualcomm is attempting to use injunctions against our products to try to get Apple to succumb to their extortionist demands," said Apple in a statement. "To ensure all iPhone models can again be available to customers in Germany, we have no choice but to stop using Intel chips and ship our phones with Qualcomm chips in Germany.

"Qualcomm is working to eliminate competition by any means they can, harming consumers and stifling industry innovation along the way."

This is definitely not the outcome that Apple wanted, but the company cannot afford to continue with a sales ban in a market like Germany. Apple has already run up against falling sales due to a saturated smartphone market, its own battery replacement program that was initiated in late 2017, and higher prices for its flagship smartphones. 

Devices like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, which are a generation or two old, can be had at much lower price points for more budget conscious consumers. So, the sooner that Apple can modify its iPhones to include Qualcomm chips, the better.

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