Smartphone maker Apple has suffered a significant setback after the verdict was announced in a patent lawsuit in China. The lawsuit, being contested between Apple and American chipset maker Qualcomm, was related to patents that Qualcomm implies are being used by Apple without paying royalties. While a court in China initially sanctioned a preliminary injunction to prevent certain iPhones from being sold in China, Apple has appealed the decision and vowed to keep its older devices on sale.
It’s unclear what the effect of this is for the time being, with two distinct possibilities being raised. On one hand, Apple may have to abide by the preliminary injunction and take certain devices off sale in China, while on the other hand, an appeal may be admitted that puts aside the injunction. In the latter case, nothing will change and Apple will be able to continue selling its previous iPhone models. The models in question are the Apple iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 6S Plus, and iPhone 6S.
The new Apple iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR are not affected by the lawsuit, since these devices were launched after the filing of the lawsuit. According to analysts, the affected devices make up about 15 percent of total iPhone sales in China currently, so the effect, in case of a ban, is fairly contained for Apple. Qualcomm has been claiming that Apple is utilizing technology covered by its patents without paying royalties, while Apple calls this “another desperate move by a company (Qualcomm) whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world.”
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Meanwhile, Apple has been seeing a falling market share in China, as competition from local manufacturers such as Huawei and Oppo has intensified. Furthermore, the ever increasing prices and premium positioning of Apple has made its phones out of reach for the masses, even as Android smartphone makers continue to offer better features and products at lower prices.