Apple’s ongoing feud with Qualcomm (QCOM) forced the Cupertino colossus to remove certain iPhone models from stores in Germany two months ago. But now iPhone models 7, 7+, 8 and 8+ are back on German store shelves, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Apple (AAPL) said it had to stop using some chips from Intel (INTC) in iPhones headed to Germany to comply with a patent infringement lawsuit Qualcomm won there in December. But now, having swapped the Intel chips for Qualcomm ones, the older models of the iPhone are returning to German store shelves. (Apple’s newer iPhones, which still feature Intel chips, were not subject to the Qualcomm ruling.)
The development is important for Apple, since Germany is Western Europe’s second-largest smartphone market after the U.K., WSJ reports. Apple was expected to ship 6 million to 8 million iPhones there in 2018.
The tensions between the two companies have been simmering since 2017, when Apple complained about Qualcomm’s $7.50-per-phone fee for its modem chips. COO Jeff Williams testified in January that the fees cost Apple upwards of $1 billion annually. Qualcomm is the world’s largest producer of modem chips, and Apple says it has abused its global dominance in the smartphone market.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission says Qualcomm forced Apple and other smartphone makers to use its chips exclusively in exchange for lower licensing fees. The FTC v. Qualcomm trial wrapped up Jan. 29 and is awaiting the U.S. district judge’s ruling.
On Tuesday, South Korea’s Supreme Court backed up a fine from the country’s Fair Trade Commission against Qualcomm in 2009. The FTC had fined Qualcomm 273 billion won ($242 million) in an antitrust case spanning the years of 2000 to 2009, and it has been under appeal for nearly 10 years. The South Korean court said Qualcomm must pay 200 billion won of the original fine. Qualcomm’s appeal on a 1.03 trillion won ($853 million at the time) antitrust fine from 2016 has yet to be heard. An intellectual property lawsuit between Apple and Qualcomm is also ongoing in China.