Taiwan fines Qualcomm $774 mln for anti-trust violations


The chip maker is said to have collected NT$400 billion (~$13.2 billion) in licensing fees from local clients during the 7 years this went on.

Qualcomm has released a statement disagreeing with the decision saying it 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.

Qualcomm essentially operates two businesses, one that sells chips (and accounts for much of the company's revenues) and the other that licenses patents (and drives most of the profits).

The whole fiasco began earlier this year when Apple, backed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, filed an injunction against Qualcomm for what the iPhone-maker alleged were unfair and monopolistic practices, claiming that the modem-maker withheld nearly $1 billion in rebates from its partners because of an ongoing South Korean anti-trust investigation.

Qualcomm was recently hit with a United States dollars 773 million fine from the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission (TFTC) saying that the company's business practices are in violation of Taiwanese competition law. This development is yet another antitrust filing levied onto Qualcomm, which has recently seen fines from South Korea (December 2016) and China (February 2015), a lawsuit from the US Federal Trade Commission (January 2017), and investigation and potential non-compliance fines from the European Union. The government body referred to the company's hold over CDMA and LTE chips, alongside its extensive inventory of patents involving associated technology - many of which it refuses to license to others -, as being key factors in enabling such behavior.

In Taiwan, regulators said that along with the fine, Qualcomm must stop particular business practices.

The commission said Qualcomm will be able to choose to pay the fine in 60 installments over the next five years. It said Taiwanese companies had purchased $30 billion worth of Qualcomm baseband chips.