The News: Qualcomm Incorporated announced the strengthening of its partnership with Samsung Electronics to deliver consumer experiences for Samsung Galaxy devices. Both companies have agreed to extend their patent license agreement for 3G, 4G, 5G, and the emerging 6G mobile technology through the end of 2030. Read the Qualcomm Press Release here.
Qualcomm and Samsung Up Their Alliance with Seven-Year Extension of Patent Licensing Agreement
Analyst Take: The expansion of the alliance between Qualcomm and Samsung reinvigorates their longstanding cooperation in co-developing and advancing mobile technology, especially mobile devices. The partnership renewal consists primarily of a seven-year extension of their existing patent licensing agreement through 2030.
For example, I expect that the 7 and 8 Series Snapdragon Mobile Platforms (Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and Snapdragon 7 Gen 1) which are targeted at the premium Android device and mainstream gaming Android smartphone markets, such as Samsung Galaxy products, is a smart portfolio development move, since more consumers are using their smartphones for gaming, photography, videography, social media and more.
In addition, Qualcomm Technologies, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, and Samsung also agreed to expand their collaboration across Snapdragon platforms for future Samsung Galaxy products, including smartphones, PCs, tablets, extended reality, and more.
I see the partnership expansion and extension as providing a major source of supply chain stability across the mobile ecosystem, which has experienced some turbulence over the last two plus years due to factors such as the global pandemic and geopolitical tensions between China and the U.S. and allies. With the seven-year extension, I anticipate Qualcomm and Samsung are providing stability for key contributors throughout the mobile ecosystem value chain, including application developers, mobile network operators, cloud service providers, and equipment providers who all need to sync their portfolio development and marketing strategies according to the predictable capabilities of the chipsets and mobile devices that are vital to powering overall mobile technology innovation.
The seven-year agreement also provides a contrast to the longstanding clash between Qualcomm and Apple due to patent and legal dispute issues, such as Apple seeking to pay less for Qualcomm’s intellectual property (IP). For now, Qualcomm and Apple are working together due primarily to Apple’s inability to internally develop its own 5G Modem and RF System following moves like acquiring Intel’s 5G modem unit.
In sum, Apple needed to reach a rapprochement with Qualcomm to attain a fully working high-performance 5G Modem and RF System to spur the 5G development of its ripening iPhone fleet. The current agreement is for a year, although I expect it can prove longer lasting due to Apple’s recent and ongoing travails in building its own 5G-RF portfolio.
In addition, I believe the agreement to extend Snapdragon platform development across future Samsung Galaxy products to include more than smartphones, such as PCs and extended reality (XR), provides the ecosystem foundation key to advancing broader device innovation. For instance, I see the Qualcomm Spaces XR Developer Program helping to drive a myriad of new XR use cases across both the consumer and enterprise realms. Now Qualcomm and Samsung are in a better position to power innovation across Samsung premium devices using Snapdragon platform-enabled innovations.
Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.
Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.
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Ron is an experienced research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets. He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including software and services, infrastructure, 5G/IoT, AI/analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues.