David McCabe Jan 18, 2017
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FTC lawsuit: Qualcomm held Apple hostage

Paul Sakuma / AP

The Federal Trade Commission is suing Qualcomm, saying the company abused its dominant position as a supplier of key cell phone parts to force device makers into unfair licensing deals.

The most salacious allegation: The company forced Apple to exclusively use its chips if it wanted to get a better deal on Qualcomm's patent licenses.

Qualcomm licenses patents that are essential to building modern mobile phones and also builds chips for those devices. The federal government charges that they used their power in each business to maintain their leverage in the other.