Sprint and Qualcomm to tag-team Broadcom

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Nacho LibreYesterday’s BlackBerry 8830 release was just as telling as we had thought. Not only is Sprint carrying a Qualcomm processor in the BlackBerry World Edition, but it looks like the two companies will be working together to find an alternative technology in case the ban on certain chips can’t be stayed. If the embargo sticks, then Qualcomm’s future EVDO and WCDMA chips would need some serious reworking to get over the border. As is, some of Qualcomm’s chips are stepping on a Broadcom power management patent, forcing Sprint to use a temporary software patch to keep their devices legal in the U.S.

Sprint product manager Brita Horton said in an interview that the company would be unaffected by the ban and can bring out as many new devices as it wants this year as a result of a software update it received from Qualcomm. “Qualcomm gave us a software patch that … lets us keep shipping,” said Horton, who noted that while the software patch creates extra work for Sprint, it would not increase costs.

That’s nice that they’re trying to put on a nonchalant face, but if the dispute was really a non-issue for Sprint, they wouldn’t have any reason to help Qualcomm out. The reality is, this patch probably just disables the offending functionality, which Sprint would rather keep than scrap.