Despite the trade war between the US and China starts on this early Second Semester, Apple and Qualcomm already in feud a year before trade war events. Both continue to contest each other as it started back at May 2017 where Apple sue Qualcomm over their abuse of patent rules to hike their fees unfairly.
Of course, Qualcomm doesn't want to let that happen and they sue Apple back with US$1 billion. Apple, once again, responded by stopping the payments to iPhone manufacturer for royalties owed by Qualcomm. Rather complying to Apple demands, once again Qualcomm retaliates by applying a sue to ban some of their products on the US.
Their Trade War Ignores Current War
The US and China has just enter cooldown time during trade war. They just sign an agreement to cool off during G-20 summit at Buenos Aires, Argentina. While the cooldown happens, the fighting between Apple and Qualcomm continues. Apple tries to apply a software update that will work around Qualcomm patents so they can sell on China more smoothly. Qualcomm, however, accuses Apple of sharing the details of modern chip designs with their rival, Intel.
In the long plan, Apple plans to reduce their reliability to Qualcomm and possibly using Intel. Apple claims about excessive royalties also being told by Federal Trade Commision (FTC). FTC makes the same lawsuit but only a week earlier than Apple.
Qualcomm under heavy fire
So far, many companies make a lawsuit against Qualcomm based on one aspect, abuse of patent. Apple, Samsung, FTC, they sue Qualcomm over one aspect. The threat made by Qualcomm on South Korea, however, backfired on them. This because of fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND) counteracts Qualcomm's threat over Samsung. The contract originally was to prevent Samsung from selling Qualcomm's product to other like LG, Huawei, etc. However, this makes the South Korean Trade Commission (SKTC) to make their move.
Qualcomm primarily struggling but most companies hope that Qualcomm will follow the global rules of fair trade. A trade war in global still continues even the situation is cooling down now. However, that doesn't mean the company can do as they wish. Sooner or later, every big company could be also involved in this war.