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EU antitrust watchdog slaps $1.2bn fine on Qualcomm

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US chipmaker to appeal against the decision immediately

EU antitrust regulators have hit Qualcomm with a €997m ($1.23bn) fine today for paying Apple to only use Qualcomm chips, rather than those made by rivals such as Intel.

The figure reportedly works out to 4.9 per cent of Qualcomm’s revenues last year (and the 4.9 per cent take was worked out based on the five + year period of violation).

Qualcomm shares fell as much as 5 per cent in pre-market trading.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager stated: “Qualcomm paid billions of U.S. dollars to a key customer, Apple, so that it would not buy from rivals. These payments were not just reductions in price – they were made on the condition that Apple would exclusively use Qualcomm’s baseband chipsets in all its iPhones and iPads.”

“This meant that no rival could effectively challenge Qualcomm in this market, no matter how good their products were,” she added.

However, the US chipmaker has said it “strongly disagrees with the decision and will immediately appeal it to the General Court of the European Union. The EC decision does not relate to Qualcomm’s licensing business and has no impact on ongoing operations”.




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