Qualcomm Fined Record $773M For Antitrust Breach

Reuters

Reuters

The FTC launched an antitrust investigation into alleged Qualcomm violations in February 2015, and after two years of the probe, the commission found the USA firm to be involved in direct or indirect behavior to prevent other smartphone designers from competing in the Taiwan market for seven years at least.

Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission slapped Qualcomm with a fine of Tw$23.4 billion ($774 million) for harming market competition and manipulating prices following an investigation launched in 2015.

The company is accused of abusing its monopoly over modem chips for 3G/4G phones, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

In Taiwan, Qualcomm is required to submit a progress report on the matter every six months to the Commission on negotiations with related parties.

The refusal by Qualcomm, the FTC said, failed to meet the requirement of European Telecommunications Standards Institute, which asked its members to license their technologies to its other market players. Once the final decision is issued in the coming weeks, Qualcomm said it will challenge the decision in court.

Qualcomm Inc. was fined a record $773 million by Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission in the latest blow from regulators over the way the United States company prices mobile phone chips and patents.

The Taiwanese decision is the latest challenge to Qualcomm's business model, which involves selling chips and also licensing a suite of patents related to how those chips are put into a phone to provide mobile data to the device.

Similarly Qualcomm's $975 million fine from China looks puny set against Qualcomm's $11 billion annual revenues from China.

Qualcomm in turn has sued Apple for allegedly using the chip maker's technology without paying for it.

It was the latest blow to Qualcomm in global antitrust probes. Qualcomm filed a separate civil lawsuit accusing Apple of infringing the patents at issue in that action.

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