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Devices/smartphones

Eurobites: Qualcomm Twists the Knife Into Apple With German Ban Move

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: German politicians hacked; Amazon's spot of Spanish trouble; thank god it's Fat Cat Friday!

  • As if Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s week hasn't turned out bad enough already, late Thursday Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) announced that it had posted security bonds totaling €1.34 billion (US$1.52 billion) that enable it to enforce a permanent injunction against the sale of the iPhone 7 and 8 models in Germany. The bonds were required to enforce the ruling of the Munich District Court in December, after the court found that Apple was infringing Qualcomm's patented power savings supply technology. The Munich ruling covers the sale of iPhones by third-party sellers, such as mobile operator stores and other retailers, as well as those sold in Apple's branded German outlets. However, the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR models will still be available, for those with suitably deep pockets. Qualcomm and Apple have a history of courtroom fisticuffs, being mired in disputes over chipset licensing fees and royalties since 2017, when Apple decided to drop Qualcomm chips in favor of Intel ones in its latest iPhone models. For more details, see this story on our sister site, Telecoms.com. (See also: Qualcomm v. Apple: Court Ruling in China Could Block iPhone Sales, Apple Isn't Talking Settlement Over Qualcomm Case – Report and Apple Trying to Drop Qualcomm – Report.)

  • Still in Germany, the BBC reports that hundreds of the country's politicians, Chancellor Angela Merkel among them, have had their personal details hacked and exposed online. No one has been blamed for the attack yet, though Germany's federal office for information security is still investigating. According to the report, Russia was fingered for a series of cyber attacks on the German parliament in 2015.

  • Apple isn't the only US tech behemoth facing European woes: Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) is facing a two-day strike at its largest Spanish warehouse, where, as Seeking Alpha reports, workers are demanding better pay and conditions. According to the report, Amazon has recently suffered similar strikes in Germany and Poland.

  • Every industry has its "fat cats," and the telecom vertical is no different, with the CEOs of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), Telefónica and others all regularly receiving annual pay packages that require the services of a sturdy wheelbarrow. So, to help combat the January post-holiday gloom, let's raise our glasses to Fat Cat Friday. This, as Sky News explains, is the day on which it is calculated that the head honchos of the UK's top corporates will have already earned as much as the average worker drone will earn in a whole year. Cheers! (See Fat Cats Get Fatter as Jobs Go to the Dogs, BT's Patterson Gets Tasty CEO Bonus as Troops Suffer and Telco Fat Cats: Still Worth It?)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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