Qualcomm Fined Record $773M For Antitrust Breach

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Qualcomm has been hit with a almost $774 million fine by Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission, which said today that the chip maker abused its monopoly over smartphone modems to squeeze higher licensing fees and better terms out of its customers.

"Qualcomm disagrees with the decision summarized in the TFTC's press release and intends to seek to stay any required behavioral measures and appeal the decision to the Taiwanese courts after receiving the TFTC's formal decision, which is expected in the next several weeks".

Earlier this year, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued Qualcomm, charging the company with using anticompetitive tactics to maintain a monopoly over chips for mobile technologies including CDMA, WCDMA and LTE.

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The financial penalty will be the heaviest ever handed out to a single company by the Taiwanese antitrust regulator since its establishment in 1991.

The Chinese antitrust regulator fined Qualcomm $975 million in 2015, saying that Qualcomm abused its market position. "It abused its advantage in mobile communication standards, refused to license necessary patents.".

Taiwanese regulators state Qualcomm has been breaching antitrust rules for at least seven years.

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According to the FTC, Qualcomm owned a good number of critical standard patents in Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) and Long Term Evolution (LTE) segments, serving as the dominant provider of CDMA, WCDMA and LTE baseband chips.

Qualcomm has attracted scrutiny from regulators around the world, with it practices probed in South Korea, China, Japan, the European Union, and elsewhere.

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