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Qualcomm Wins Four-year Battle Against $1 Billion Fine From EU Antitrust Regulators

Following accusations of paying Apple for exclusive use of Qualcomm chipsets

Qualcomm has finally won its battle against EU antitrust regulators who imposed a €997 million ($1.05 billion) fine against the chipmaker in 2018.

Europe’s General Court has now annulled the case and faulted the handling of the case by the EU competition enforcer, noting a number of “procedural irregularities” that “invalidate the Commission’s analysis”.

The chipset case

Whilst the EU competition enforcer can make an appeal to Europe’s highest court, it has yet to do so and is currently considering its options.

“The Commission did not provide an analysis which makes it possible to support the findings that the payments concerned had actually reduced Apple’s incentives to switch to Qualcomm’s competitors in order to obtain supplies of LTE chipsets for certain iPad models to be launched in 2014 and 2015,” the General Court explained.

The Commission – the EU antitrust regulators – claimed that Qualcomm paid Apple billions to exclusively use its chips instead of competitors’. The Commission was criticised for failing to inform Qualcomm of a number of its interviews with third parties.

This suit is among numerous fines imposed by EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, who has also claimed that Apple restricted third-party access to key technology in a charge against the iPhone creator for up to $36.6 billion.

Earlier this year, Qualcomm launched a $100 million fund to invest in XR experiences, partnering with Square Enix to explore extended reality.

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