Qualcomm responds that the bulk royalty it charges actually gives access to patents that extend far beyond connectivity, implicating power management, GPS, app-store operations, video, audio, graphics, and more.
Be that as it may, Apple has decided that now is the time to force what it regards as a long-overdue reappraisal of Qualcomm’s royalty slice—a percentage that Qualcomm has managed to hold constant for more than a decade, even as the world has radically changed.
Since about 2006, the FTC alleges, it has held a more than 80% share of the market for chipsets that permit connection to the CDMA infrastructure.
Though 2G is no longer state-of-the-art, phones that run on the Verizon and Sprint networks must be back-compatible to that standard, in order to connect to cell towers in certain rural areas of the U.S.
To alleviate that royalty burden, the FTC claims, it negotiated with Qualcomm a cap on its royalties in exchange for agreeing not to support the WiMax technology, which was championed by Intel and disfavored by Qualcomm.