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Apple's 5G iPhone shift bogged down by Qualcomm chip battle
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Quote:Apple COO Jeff Williams testifies in court that Qualcomm refused to sell modems to Apple because of the companies' licensing dispute.

Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams testifies during the FTC's antitrust case against Qualcomm. 

Vicki Behringer
Apple wanted to use Qualcomm's 4G LTE processors in its newest iPhones, but the chipmaker wouldn't sell to it, Apple's operating chief testified Monday.

And that's had a ripple effect on how quickly Apple can make the shift to 5G.

Qualcomm continues to provide Apple with chips for its older iPhones, including the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple COO Jeff Williams testified Monday during the US Federal Trade Commission's trial against Qualcomm. But it won't provide Apple with processors for the newest iPhones for 2018, designed since the two began fighting over patents, he said. And Williams believes the royalty rate Apple paid for using Qualcomm patents -- $7.50 per iPhone -- is too high. 

"We have been unable to get them to support us on new design wins past that time [when Apple filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm]," Williams said. "This has been a challenge."


Now playing: Watch this: Apple waiting on a 5G phone, Qualcomm's ultrasonic fingerprint...
 1:08
The FTC has accused Qualcomm of operating a monopoly in wireless chips, forcing customers like Apple to work with it exclusively and charging excessive licensing fees for its technology. The FTC has said that Qualcomm forced Apple to pay licensing fees for its technology in exchange for using its chips in iPhones. The trial kicked off Jan. 4 in US District Court in San Jose, California. Testimony covers negotiations and events that occurred before March 2018 and can't encompass anything after that date. 

Apple makes its own application processor -- the brains of the iPhone -- but it relies on third-party chips for network connectivity. From the iPhone 4S in 2011 to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus in 2015, the sole supplier for those chips was Qualcomm. The following year, Apple started using Intel modems in some models of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but it still used Qualcomm in versions for Verizon and Sprint. 

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