Apple’s stock price doesn’t seem to care about Qualcomm’s latest legal jab, even though it could mean a pause in iPhone sales.
Shares of Apple are trading 0.95% higher on Friday after Qualcomm sought a “limited exclusion order” against Apple that would halt import and sales of the iPhone 8 in the US.
The move is only the latest in an ongoing legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm. Apple began the fight earlier this year by claiming that the chip maker was using its monopoly power unfairly.
Since that first battle, Apple and Qualcomm have been filing lawsuits back and forth. The newest suit claims that Apple is illegally using six Qualcomm patents that are separate from the monopoly position Apple thinks Qualcomm is abusing.
The International Trade Commission, where Qualcomm’s latest complaint was filed, is a slow-moving body, and the requested order isn’t expected to affect the launch of the iPhone 8 toward the end of this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The ITC granted an injunction against Apple in the past, but then-President Obama shot down the move and allowed Apple to continue selling its phones.
Investors don’t seem worried about Qualcomm’s claims. The delay in official action means it is likely to be a long time before the legal move would have an effect, if it has any at all.
“We believe the escalation of the dispute is unprecedented and will not go very far,” Kulbinder Garcha, an analyst at Credit Suisse said in a recent note to clients.
Garcha went on to say that despite the messy legal battles, the two companies are likely to continue working together, thanks to the importance of Qualcomm’s technology and Apple’s scale.
Amit Daryanani, an analyst at RBC, said to “brace for a long and ugly battle.”
“QCOM’s actions mark an escalation in feud with AAPL, we don’t think there is a cause for alarm for investors. Near term impact on AAPL should be negligible as ITC typically takes 16-18 months to reach a conclusion,” Daryanani said.
RBC has a price target of $US168.00, which is 19% higher than Apple’s current price of $US142.73. Garcha is slightly more bullish and thinks Apple is going to $US170.
Apple fell in a broad FAANG selloff Thursday, but is up 24.06% this year.
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