Qualcomm's ongoing claims to be on the Doorstep of Resolving their Legal Battle with Apple remains a PR Ploy
Qualcomm has been hit with a few drawbacks in their case against Apple. In Early October a Munich Court threw out Qualcomm's patent infringement case against Apple. Later in October an ITC Judge painfully pointed out one of Qualcomm's witnesses testimony against Apple wasn't credible because Qualcomm paid millions for his testimony. And then at the top of the month, a preliminary ruling forced Qualcomm to license modem technology to Intel.
Now we're learning that Qualcomm's CEO Steve Mollenkopf told Jim Cramer in an exclusive interview on CNBC's "Mad Money" today that they're on the doorstep of resolving their ongoing issues with Apple. But this isn't anything new. Qualcomm's CEO has been saying this for months in different interviews. CNet reported on this same line of thinking on November 7th and Bloomberg on September 18th. So It's not a real announcement even though Jim Cramer would like to think it is.
Mollenkopf attributed the back-and-forth to "activities that are consistent with" what he called "the fourth quarter of the game, and not the first quarter."
"We've always talked about — I've been very consistent — that ... the second half of this year and into next year is when we're really on the doorstep of finding a resolution and we don't see anything different than that," the CEO said.
Even though relations have cooled amid the lawsuits, Mollenkopf had a positive outlook on future of the tech giants' relationship, particularly with the cellular industry on the cusp of 5G adoption.
"I think there's always an opportunity and a risk when you have these big G transitions, or the generations of wireless change," he told Cramer. "It's the opportunity to either be left behind or to make sure that you're part of that new generation. Of course, we work with everybody. We would love to work with Apple."
Mollenkopf cast 5G, which he predicts will roll out starting in the spring of 2019, as Qualcomm's central focus and touted its "tremendous benefits" to the cellular industry and the wider internet of things.
"We think the people that move quickly to these new generations, they tend to win, if you look at the history of what's happened to the Motorolas and the Blackberrys," he said in a veiled nod to Apple's early years of success. "The people that made, that embrace the new technology do the best. Of course, we try to provide that to everybody and there's an opportunity there with every [original equipment manufacturer]."
When Cramer jokingly said he wanted an Apple iPhone equipped with 5G "with Qualcomm in it," Mollenkopf's response was succinct: "We do, too."
Although Qualcomm sounds positive, I won't believe it until Apple makes a formal statement verifying a deal with Qualcomm. At present, Qualcomm is simply looking for more free, positive PR as their case with Apple doesn't look all that solid.