Intel’s business is under siege from a variety of fronts, and unlike Microsoft the company has not been able to diversify beyond their core PC processor market, failing to create an effective mobile x86 processor for both phone and tablet and recently shutting down their wearable initiative.
Now Qualcomm is getting ready to enter the PC market later this year with new Windows 10 devices powered by the company’s Snapdragon ARM processors. Qualcomm’s ARM processors will be the future of Windows 10 PCs, and that’s a huge threat for companies like Intel.
Like all companies under threat, the next step is legal threats, and it looks like Qualcomm and Intel may soon be squaring off in court.
Intel has already warned Qualcomm that their Windows 10 on ARM code would infringe on their patents and now Intel has joined Apple in their legal fight against Qualcomm.
Qualcomm claimed that Apple is infringing a couple of its patents on the iPhone, and the company also urged the U.S. trade regulation officers to ban the sales of the iPhone in the United States. Recently, tech giants part of The Computer & Communications Industry group have started supporting Apple in the legal battle — this includes Google, Amazon, Samsung, and of course: Intel.
Intel claims it’s the only remaining competitor for Qualcomm in the mobile market, and by suing Apple, Qualcomm could effectively be able to get rid of Intel on the modem market.
“Intel is Qualcomm’s only remaining competitor in the merchant market for premium LTE baseband processor modems (‘modems’). Intel has invested billions of dollars to develop next-generation advanced modems and technologies to improve the performance and functionality of modern smartphones and cellular communications,”
“Qualcomm now seeks exclusion of allegedly infringing Apple mobile electronic products that include a modem made by Intel, so that they can be ‘replace[d]’ by allegedly infringing Apple products that ‘use a Qualcomm brand baseband processor modem’.”
Intel’s modems have in fact been found to be of lower performance than Qualcomm’s, and it is almost certain that Apple was only using them as a supplier to keep Qualcomm in check.
Intel later detailed Qualcomm’s other “abusive practices” on its official complaint to the International Trade Commission and urged the ITC to “entertain” Qualcomm’s complaint with full awareness:
“If the Commission entertains Qualcomm’s complaint, it should do so with full awareness of Qualcomm’s abusive practices and the risks to the public interest from the exclusion order Qualcomm seeks,”
While the battle between Apple and Qualcomm will get heated over the coming months and years, the battle between Qualcomm and Intel should be even more interesting. Qualcomm’s ARM processors are a big threat to Intel’s processors and with the latter having effectively no presence in the mobile market, Qualcomm might still be the winner at the end of the day even if it doesn’t win either of these legal battles.