Qualcomm is a monopoly and must renegotiate deals, judge rules

CNET | 5/22/2019 | Shara Tibken
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US District Judge Lucy Koh, in a ruling issued Tuesday, said that Qualcomm wrongfully suppressed competitors in the wireless chip market and used its dominant position to force unnecessary licensing fees.

Qualcomm must change how it does business and renegotiate license deals with its customers, according to the ruling. To hold the company accountable, Qualcomm must also submit compliance and monitoring reports for the next seven years and report to the US Federal Trade Commission on an annual basis.

Statement - Qualcomm - Stay - District - Court

In a statement, Qualcomm said it would immediately seek a stay of the district court's judgement and an expedited appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

"We strongly disagree with the judge's conclusions, her interpretation of the facts and her application of the law," Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm, said in a statement Wednesday.

Decision - Years - FTC - Qualcomm - Monopoly

The decision comes more than two years after the FTC accused Qualcomm of operating a monopoly in wireless chips. The agency said Qualcomm forced customers like Apple to work exclusively with it and charged "excessive" licensing fees for its technology, in part by wielding a "no license, no chips" policy. Qualcomm's practices prevented rivals from entering the market, drove up the cost of phones and in turn hurt consumers, who faced higher handset prices, the FTC said.

Qualcomm argued the FTC's lawsuit was based on "flawed legal theory" and that customers choose its chips because they're the best. It also argued that competition is fierce in the mobile chip market and that Qualcomm never stopped providing processors to customers, even when they've been arguing over licenses.

Sides - San - Jose - California - Courtroom

The two sides battled in a San Jose, California, courtroom for most of January. The FTC wrapped up its antitrust case against the company on Jan. 15, and Qualcomm rested its defense 10 days later. Both sides presented...
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