By Alan Murray and David Meyer
March 27, 2019

Good morning,

Qualcomm scored a victory yesterday in its epic legal battle against Apple, which has become the Jarndyce v Jarndyce of the corporate law world.

U.S. International Trade Commission Judge MaryJoan McNamara said she would recommend an import ban on some iPhones, which are made in China, because it infringes one of the chipmaker’s patents. Qualcomm’s stock price rose more than a dollar after the news broke yesterday; Apple’s fell by $5.

The battle began early in 2017 when Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion, claiming the chip manufacturer was charging excessive amounts for its patents. It has continued unabated since. Qualcomm has traveled to courts around the world, claiming Apple is stealing its intellectual property. Apple has argued that Qualcomm operates an “illegal business model” that violates antitrust laws. Both sides have won victories along the way.

If you care about all the twists and turns that this over-wrought case has taken, you can read a nice summary here. One thing is clear: both companies are spending gobs of money on lawyers. Dickens’ famous case ended when legal costs devoured the entire estate. Better if Qualcomm and Apple sit down and sort this out before their dispute does the same. This is no way to conduct a business negotiation.

By the way, if you are still trying to figure out what to make of Apple’s announcement of a pivot to subscription services yesterday, Fortune’s tech guru Adam Lashinsky has a concise explanation here. And if you don’t have time for Adam’s take, here’s Oprah’s: “They’re in a billion pockets, y’all. A billion pockets.”

More news below.

Alan Murray


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