Apple shifts strategy in Qualcomm battle - Mobile World Live

Apple shifts strategy in Qualcomm battle

20 DEC 2018

Apple tweaked its iPhone software specifically for German users to head-off a legal challenge from Qualcomm, Financial Times (FT) reported.

With no sign of let-up in an ongoing legal battle between the two and Apple having already been hit hard by a negative ruling in China, it is perhaps unsurprising the company is using all the tools available to protect its business. It was previously reported the iPhone maker would tweak its software to address the Chinese issues, although in the German case it has made the move ahead of time.

FT said Apple previously used software customisation for features targeting specific markets, for example offering spam call blocking in China. But using this as a tool to avoid legal battles has been rare, although it was mooted this will change as the Qualcomm actions progress.

A significant change is that, unlike in China where a software update was used after a ban was imposed, Apple now appears to be taking this approach proactively, even before a court has ruled in Qualcomm’s favour. The German software change, which FT reported was made “earlier this year”, amends how users search the contacts book from the home screen and apparently “passed largely unnoticed by users”.

The newspaper noted that while it is possible to use workarounds in software, other patents related to features around power management cannot be tackled with this approach, due to the close relationship with iPhone hardware.

A German regional court in Munich is expected to issue a ruling today. FT said Munich is a favoured venue because it can issue an injunction more quickly than others.

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Steve Costello

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