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Qualcomm expects to make nice with Apple -- eventually

Despite their fierce patent fight, the two companies have a strong product relationship, Qualcomm's CEO says.

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Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf sees a day when his company will be on friendly terms with Apple.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Qualcomm's legal feud with Apple isn't personal -- it's strictly business.

Even though the two companies are locked in a fierce battle over patents and licensing fees, the two will one day be able to mend fences and work together again, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said Tuesday when asked whether the relationship could be saved.

"Yeah, in the end it's important to remember is that fundamentally this is a discussion about pricing over the fundamental technology that makes the phone," Mollenkopf said during an onstage interview at the WSJ D.Live tech conference in Laguna Beach, California. "So really it comes down to how much are you going to pay."

The two companies have been fighting over patents since January, when Apple filed suit against Qualcomm for roughly $1 billion, saying the wireless chipmaker didn't give fair licensing terms for its technology. It wants to pay a lower amount for using Qualcomm technology in its devices.

Qualcomm, the world's biggest provider of mobile chips, responded by suing Apple for patent infringement and seeking a ban on iPhone sales. The company maintains that no modern handset -- including the iPhone -- would have been possible without its cellular technologies.

Qualcomm has a long history of settling these issues, and sometimes these cases get more publicity than others, "and that's certainly the case this time," Mollenkopf said.

"I think we'll get through it, we have a very strong product relationship with [Apple]," Mollenkopf said. "We sometimes have these disputes, but you have a broad relationship."

So when does Mollenkopf expect Apple and Qualcomm to make up?

"I don't have a date on that one," he said. "It will get resolved."

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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