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Apple's expansion comes as the two companies continue in an ongoing multinational legal battle, with Qualcomm alleging Apple violated its patents and Apple alleging Qualcomm has inaccurately charged it royalties to use its chips in devices.
Reuters reported last month that Apple has moved its modem chip engineering team from its supply chain unit into its in-house hardware technology group, suggesting it could be looking to bring a component it used to buy from Qualcomm into its own facilities. Apple recently stopped using modems made by Qualcomm and switched to Intel chips instead.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer tweeted his support of Apple's expansion, which he said "will increase local jobs by an additional 20%." Apple plans to add as many as 200 employees by the end of 2019, according to a press release from Faulconer's office. Apple said said its new positions would span a variety of specialty engineering fields in hardware and software, according to the release. The company plans also to develop thousands of square feet of office, lab and research space in the area to accommodate the new employees.
Apple has recently begun posting dozens of positions relating to designing cellular modems and integrated application processors, according to EE Times. Wednesday's announcement shows it's serious about building out a team in a city that is a popular chip hub.