Qualcomm won’t have to pay EU $997M fine for exclusive partnership with Apple


At the beginning of 2018, Qualcomm was fined 997 million euros by the European Union for “abusing the dominant position of the LTE chip market” in an exclusive cooperation with Apple. At the time, the European Commission determined that in order to suppress rivals such as Intel, Qualcomm paid Apple billions of dollars between 2011 and 2016 to ensure that iPhones and iPads only use their chips. And now, on two grounds, Europe’s second highest court has decided to overturn “all the committee’s decisions”.

One was that the court found “some procedural irregularities” in the committee’s investigation that affected Qualcomm’s defense rights. Specifically, the Commission failed to record the contents of third-party meetings and conference calls related to the case, as requested. In addition, their ruling was based solely on the allegation of Qualcomm’s abuse of LTE chip market dominance, but in fact the objection statement in this case also mentioned Qualcomm’s abuse of Qualcomm’s abuse of dominance in the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) chip field.

The second reason is that Qualcomm’s exclusivity fee would reduce Apple’s willingness to use other companies’ products, but there was indeed no alternative to Qualcomm’s LTE chips for the iPhone at the time. The court also found there was insufficient evidence to determine whether the exclusivity fee influenced Apple’s chip selection in the 2014 and 2015 iPad models.

Counting the 1.06 billion euros Intel monopoly fine rejected by the second highest court last month, this is the second time they have “singed against the European Commission” recently. But according to Reuters, the committee is now planning to appeal the Qualcomm case.


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