Qualcomm, one of the world’s leading semiconductor companies, was fined $1.23 billion by the European Union after it found the American company to have violated anti-trust regulations.
Qualcomm was found to have made anti-competitive arrangements with Apple for years. As a part of those, it paid the Cupertino-based company billions of dollars over the years for preferring its 4G chips in its phones and tablets over other competitors, most notable of them being Intel.
The arrangements were carried out between 2011 and 2016, and ended after the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus launched with Intel’s chips in them.
Margrethe Vestager, the European Competition Commissioner said,
Qualcomm paid billions of U.S. dollars to a key customer, Apple, so that it would not buy from rivals. These payments were not just reductions in price – they were made on the condition that Apple would exclusively use Qualcomm’s baseband chipsets in all its iPhones and iPads.
Qualcomm Rejects The Ruling
The inquiry was launched back in 2015. Qualcomm has rejected the ruling straightaway and is going to “immediately appeal” to the General Court of the EU. The fine makes up around 4.9 percent of its 2017 revenue.
Similar actions in the future could hamper investor confidence drastically. Apple, for its part, is not being fined by the EU for signing the deal.
This is far from the only legal battle Qualcomm is currently facing. It is also in the process of getting regulatory approvals for its $47 billion deal of NXP, and was recently offered more than a hundred billion for acquiring its rival Broadcom. Also, Apple sued it for $1 billion for charging royalties on products it had no rights to.