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Qualcomm reverses a $1 billion EU fine

Qualcomm overturns €1bn EU fine

In response to claims that it paid Apple billions of dollars to keep competing suppliers from supplying the company, Qualcomm successfully appealed a €1 billion fine from the EU.

In order to ensure that only its 4G LTE chipsets would be used in the iPhone and iPad, Qualcomm allegedly paid incentives during a five-year period between 2011 and 2016 before the EU levied the penalty in January 2018.

Investigators came to the conclusion that these incentive payments amounted to “exclusivity fees” that hurt the market by preventing companies like Intel from competing for Apple’s business.

Qualcomm battles

However, the EU General Court has overturned that judgment due to problems with the inquiry conducted by the EU.

The court ruled that “the General Court bases its conclusions on, first, the finding of a number of procedural irregularities which affected Qualcomm’s rights of defense, and, second, an analysis of the anticompetitive effects of the incentive payments.” It added that the investigation had not found evidence to show that the payments had actually decreased Apple’s incentives to switch suppliers.

The highest court in Europe, the EU Court of Justice (CJEU), will hear appeals from EU competition authorities on “matters of law.”

In an ironic turn of events, Qualcomm and Apple have recently been battling in court. Apple asserted that Qualcomm was exploiting its dominating position in the industry and collecting exorbitant fees, while Qualcomm repeatedly claimed that Apple was infringing on its patents.

In the end, the two businesses came to an amicable deal, with Apple agreeing to pay royalties and sign a new supply contract.

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Written by Victo Achu

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