Eager to help out a customer taking on a rival, Intel has weighed in on Apple's side in the iPhone maker's dispute with Qualcomm. In particular, Intel opposes Qualcomm's recent move to ban the import of some iPhones into the U.S.
Behind the scenes: Intel has an especially good reason to oppose Qualcomm's request. While Qualcomm maintains that all iPhones require a patent license, its request with the ITC only seeks to ban iPhones that use Intel rather than Qualcomm modems. In part, Qualcomm says that's because of contractual requirements.
But as Intel points out in a new legal filing, it's also a handy way for Qualcomm to try to win back more of Apple's business, while damaging its main competitor in the high-end modem business.
"An exclusion order would fence Intel, Qualcomm's only remaining competitor, out of the premium LTE market for reasons unrelated to the merits of its products," Intel said in its filing. "Such an order would cause harm to competitive conditions because it would outright eliminate competition."Our take: This is a battle among giants all of whom play rough, including Intel which had a number of sharp elbowed tactics when the PC was king and it had dominant market share. That said, while there may be contractual reasons Qualcomm can't seek a ban of iPhones with its chips, keeping out only iPhones with Intel modems would seem to create some other potential harms to competition.