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Qualcomm Hit With a US$773 Million Fine In Taiwan

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Qualcomm Hit With a US$773 Million Fine In Taiwan

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Qualcomm, theSan Diego-based chipset maker was fined for US$773 million by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission. The Commission said that Qualcomm misused the monopoly in the smartphone business to squeeze higher licensing fees and better terms out of its customers.

The commission said that Qualcomm’s dominance in CDMA and LTE chips, as well as its major patent holdings for both technologies, let the company abuse its position and refuse to license necessary patents. It’ll now be required to end those practices and parts of unfavourable deals it forged with other companies. This is not the first time that Qualcomm has been fined, South Korea and China have also fined Qualcomm in the last 2 years and Apple is involved in a series of lawsuits globally against Qualcomm over similar practices.

On its website, FTC says:

Qualcomm holds big number of standard essential patents in CDMA, WCDMA and LTE segments and is the dominant provider of CDMA, WCDMA and LTE baseband chips. It abused its advantage in mobile communication standards, refused to license necessary patents.

By not providing products to its clients who don’t agree to its terms, Qualcomm is abusing the monopoly it has in the business, therefore violating the local anti trust laws. According to FTC, local companies purchased around US$30 billion worth of Qualcomm’s chips, which is way more than the fine it was dealt with.

In response to the fine, Qualcomm has said:

The fine bears no rational relationship to the amount of Qualcomm’s revenues or activities in Taiwan, and Qualcomm will appeal the amount of the fine and the method used to calculate it.

Even though Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors power most of the Android devices in the market with the only real resistance coming rom MediaTek, Qualcomm’s main money minting business is that of licensing patents. That business however, is under attack right now around the world. Countries and companies have finally decided to take action against the alleged unfair practices of Qualcomm.

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Vipul Vij
Vipul Vij