Intel sides with Apple, accuses Qualcomm of anticompetitive conduct

Intel complains that Qualcomm's request to bar the import of Intel-powered iPhones into the US would "cause significant harm to the public interest."

Intel has officially weighed in on the ongoing battle between Apple and Qualcomm, filing a public statement with a US regulatory agency that accuses its rival chipmaker of weaving an "interlocking web of abusive practices."

The statement, filed with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) comes in response to Qualcomm's complaint alleging patent infringement by certain Apple mobile devices. In that earlier complaint, Qualcomm asked the ITC to bar the import of iPhones that use cellular baseband processors other than those supplied by Qualcomm's affiliates. In other words, it asked to keep Intel-powered iPhones out of the US.

The legal saga between Apple and Qualcomm started in January, when Apple filed a lawsuit that accused the semiconductor giant of overcharging for chips and withholding nearly $1 billion in contractual rebate payments.

In its statement filed this week, Intel writes that Qualcomm's request "is a transparent effort to stave off lawful competition from Qualcomm's only remaining rival.

"This twisted use of the Commission's process is just the latest in a long line of anticompetitive strategies that Qualcomm has used to quash incipient and potential competitors and avoid competition on the merits," it continues. "And although those strategies have sometimes been subtle or complex, Qualcomm's latest complaint could not be more blatant in its anticompetitive aims."

Intel goes on to argue that fulfilling Qualcomm's request "would cause significant harm to the public interest."

Among the reasons why, Intel says it would "severely damage competitive conditions in the United States economy by reinforcing Qualcomm's hold on the premium LTE modem merchant market." Moreover, Intel argues, "it would send a strong signal to other OEMs about the risks of defying Qualcomm."

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