U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm wins fight against $1 Billion EU antitrust fine

U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm wins fight against $1 Billion EU antitrust fine

On Wednesday, U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM.O) won its fight against a 997 million euro ($1.05 billion) fine imposed by EU antitrust regulators four years ago, dealing a major setback to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s crackdown on Big Tech.

The European Commission, in its 2018 decision, said Qualcomm paid billions of dollars to Apple (AAPL.O) from 2011 to 2016 to use only its chips in all its iPhones and iPads in order to block out rivals such as Intel Corp (INTC.O)

Qualcomm’s fine is one of several imposed by Vestager on companies ranging from Alphabet unit Google (GOOGL.O) to banks and truckmakers over anti-competitive practices. Apple, Amazon, and Facebook are being investigated.

U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm wins fight against $1 Billion EU antitrust fine

The General Court, Europe’s second-highest, annulled the EU finding and faulted the EU competition enforcer over handling the case.

“Several procedural irregularities affected Qualcomm’s rights of defense and invalidated the Commission’s analysis of the conduct alleged against Qualcomm,” judges said.

“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,” they said.

The EU competition enforcer can appeal on matters of law to the EU Court of Justice (CJEU), Europe’s highest court.



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