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Judge rules Qualcomm can’t use Apple’s switch to Intel modems as evidence in FTC antitrust case

The legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm, as well as the FTC’s lawsuit against Qualcomm, continues today. Reuters reports that a federal judge ruled today in the FTC’s case against Qualcomm that the chipmaker cannot use evidence of Apple’s move to competing suppliers like Intel to fight allegations that it acted in a way to preserve a monopoly on certain smartphone chips.

Back at the beginning of 2017, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against Qualcomm, alleging that the chipmaker engaged in anti-competitive practices to help it monopolize the market of a “key semiconductor device” used in the iPhone and iPad.

Qualcomm hoped to use the fact that Apple moved to Intel as its modem supplier for the latest iPhones as evidence it did not engage in monopolistic practices. Judge Lucy Koh said today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, however, that Qualcomm cannot use this as evidence to defend its practices.

Judge Koh said that the case is about Qualcomm’s business conduct, not its market power:

“Qualcomm does not argue that any post-discovery evidence shows a change in Qualcomm’s own business conduct. All of the proposed evidence relates to alleged shifts in Qualcomm’s market power,” Koh wrote in her decision.

Further, an attorney for the FTC today said that there are “still discussions going on” between the FTC and Qualcomm about a settlement. A Qualcomm attorney, however, said the company had “no news” about the status of those talks.

As Qualcomm goes up against the FTC, it is also battling Apple. Earlier this week, China granted an import ban and sale ban as part of the Apple vs Qualcomm case, but Apple said that all iPhone models remain available for customers in China. The “victory” was short-lived for Qualcomm once it was revealed that the injunction applied to older iPhone models, and only on the basis of the version of iOS they ran when they first went on sale.

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Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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