Taiwan lets Qualcomm off majority of big $773 million fine


Qualcomm patents
Qualcomm just scored a lucky break in feud with regulators.
Photo: Qualcomm

Qualcomm just saved itself the best part of $700 million , due a settlement with Taiwan’s antitrust regulators.

Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission had accused Qualcomm of abusing its position in the marketplace by refusing to provide products to clients who would not agree to its terms and conditions. Qualcomm was issued a record $773 million fine last year, but most of that has now been reversed.

Qualcomm had paid the first $93 million installment of the fine, but no other amounts will now be due.

Instead, Qualcomm has agreed to invest $700 million in Taiwan over the next five years, and increase its research activities in the country by opening new manufacturing and engineering centers. Finally, Qualcomm will have a regulator monitor its deals for the next five years.

In a statement, Qualcomm Technology Licensing president Alex Rogers said:

“This settlement directly addresses concerns raised by the TFTC, regardless of disputed positions, and builds on our foundation of collaborative, long-term business relationships in Taiwan. We are happy to reaffirm our commitment to licensing our valuable intellectual property under principles of fairness and good faith. With the uncertainty removed, we can now focus on expanding our relationships that support the Taiwanese wireless industry and rapid adoption of 5G technology.”

Under the settlement’s terms, Qualcomm is able to continue setting its licensing fees based on the price of the device which uses its intellectual property, and not based on the price of individual components. This is part of the previous disagreement the company was caught up in.

Still feuding with Apple

Although this particular issue is settled, that’s not the end of Qualcomm’s legal troubles. It is still entangled in various lawsuits involving Apple, which have raged on for the past year-and-a-half.

However, sources in the supply chain apparently believe the two companies will patch up their relationship sometime next year. The reason for this is that it would be too risky for Apple to bet on 5G smartphone production adopting non-Qualcomm chips. Qulacomm is one of the leaders when it comes to 5G chip technology.

The boss of Qualcomm, CEO Steve Mollenkopf, has previously said that he is confident that Qualcomm’s feud with Apple can be resolved, so long as the right fee is negotiated.

Source: Bloomberg and Engadget


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