Qualcomm has been found guilty of abusing its dominant market position by the European Commission, and is now facing a €997 million (about RM4.8 billion) fine. This brings an end to a low standing feud between Qualcomm and Apple; where a complaint from Cupertino started the investigation.
The EC began looking into Qualcomm’s business activities after it was reported that the company was paying Apple to exclusively use its LTE modems. The agreement was supposed to run from 2011 to 2013, but was later extended to 2106. Apple, for its part, was also looking towards including Intel made LTE modems at the end of the agreement period (something that started a separate lawsuit between the two companies).
On the European Union side, the EC decided that Qualcomm was preventing other companies from competing for Apple’s business. Seeing that the agreement between the two companies also stated that the payments would stop in the event that Cupertino even tried to talk to other manufacturers.
Qualcomm is naturally attempting to appeal the decision, but that doesn’t look like it will go anywhere. The Europeans have been known to be extremely serious about preventing monopolies and promoting competition. Microsoft, Apple, and even Google have all be hit with anti-trust suits over the years; and Qualcomm will not be the last to run afoul of the EC.
There is also the matter of Qualcomm being hit by anti-trust suits in several countries. With China, Taiwan, and South Korea all issuing fines against the company over the last three years. Which only indicates that the world’s biggest mobile LTE modem manufacturer needs to take a good long look at how it does business.
[Source: European Commission]