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Qualcomm fined a record $773M in Taiwan over antitrust claims

12 October, 2017, 07:48 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • Taiwan's FTC Hits Qualcomm with a Record $773 Million Fine for Abusing their Monopoly Power

Bloomberg reported Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission announced the fine early this morning, claiming the San Diego-based chip vendor maintains a monopoly on some standardized mobile technologies and hasn't provided products to potential customers that don't adhere to its terms, violating the country's laws.

Following this announcement, Qualcomm responded by saying that it disagrees and will be appealing to the decision made by Taiwanese courts once they have time to review what the TFTC has to say. The fine has "no rational relationship" to Qualcomm's actual revenues in Taiwan, the company said.

The penalty is the largest handed out to a single company since the Taiwanese antitrust authority was established. The commission said that the company's dominance in CDMA and LTE chips, as well as its key patent holdings for such technologies, let the company abuse its position and refuse to license necessary patents.

The FTC launched an antitrust investigation into alleged Qualcomm violations in February 2015, and after two years of the probe, the commission found the US 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. It plans to call for a stay on "any required behavioural measures". Innovative companies like Icera can be hobbled by Qualcomm-like practices which stop them growing into major companies.

The commission said Qualcomm will be able to choose to pay the fine in 60 installments over the next five years.

Those regulatory challenges are playing out as Apple is waging a global legal battle on Qualcomm's long-held practice of charging a percentage of the total price of iPhones and other Apple devices as a licensing fee for its patents.

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