The Apple vs Qualcomm legal war just took a dramatic new twist

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It also alleges an Apple engineer working with a competitor asked a colleague to request information from Qualcomm on data download technology.

The suit, filed today in California state court in San Diego, claims that Apple used its "unprecedented access" to a Qualcomm software license to share info with Intel so it could develop competing chip technology.

The Apple-Qualcomm stand-off is centred over patent licensing with the iPhone maker accusing the chip designer of abusing its market dominance with high royalties. Qualcomm alleges in the latest suit that Apple failed to protect the chipmaker's software and isn't allowing an audit to review how the iPhone maker handles the software, an obligation that Qualcomm says is included in their contract.

The lawsuit also claims Apple did little to stop the valuable Qualcomm information from being shared with Apple engineers who were working with Intel. Second, the iPhone maker has been manufacturing some of its devices with Intel modems since past year, which could potentially give Qualcomm's allegations more weight in court. But the escalating legal action is taking a toll on Qualcomm's financial performance-a 90 percent year-over-year drop in quarterly profit, the company CEO said on Wednesday.

According to commentators, Apple generally looks for two suppliers for its key components, and as the battle with Qualcomm continues, it makes sense to have MediaTek onboard. But, recent news reports from The Wall Street Journal suggest Apple are designing products which don't require Qualcomm components, which would free Apple from Qualcomm's influence.

If Qualcomm loses that business, it would cut the company's revenue by about 7.5 percent, Raymond James & Associates estimates.

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