U.S. judge rules Qualcomm practices violate antitrust law

“Qualcomm Inc unlawfully suppressed competition in the market for cellphone chips and used its dominant position to impose excessive licensing fees, a U.S. judged ruled, sending the company’s shares down 13 percent in pre-market trade,” Reuters reports.

“‘Qualcomm’s licensing practices have strangled competition in the CDMA and the premium LTE modem chip markets for years, and harmed rivals, OEMs, and end consumers in the process,’ U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh wrote in a ruling on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. “Koh sided with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which in 2017 filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm, accusing the company of using ‘anticompetitive’ tactics to maintain its monopoly on a key semiconductor used in mobile phones.”

“The FTC complaint also accused Qualcomm of refusing to license some standard essential patents to rival chipmakers, and of entering into an exclusive deal with Apple Inc.,” Reuters reports. “Qualcomm’s licensing practices have been the subject of government investigations in the U.S. since at least 2014 and in Asia and Europe since at least 2009, according to the court filing.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Even though some of the remedies requested by the FTC were found too vague, the FTC has practically prevailed on all counts. This is a resounding victory for the U.S. competition enforcement agency over Qualcomm.,” Florian Mueller writes for FOSS Patents.

“This is a resounding victory for the FTC,” Mueller writes. “With such a rich and powerful body of evidence, it’s going to be hard for Qualcomm to persuade the appeals court (the Ninth Circuit) that the facts are favorable to its defenses.”

Much more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: The Apple settlement only granted Qualcomm a reprieve, not an exoneration from the eventual demise of their predatory, anticompetitive, extortionist practices.

Qualcomm’s CEO is living in an isolated extortionist fantasyland that’s about to come crashing down abruptly. Qualcomm’s unreasonable, illogical, and irrational licensing scam, which charges a percentage of the total cost of all components in the phone, even non-Qualcomm components, must end.MacDailyNews, April 13, 2019

Related articles:
Behind the Intel-Apple modem divorce – May 15, 2019
Qualcomm effectively granted Apple a late-payment discount worth billions of dollars – May 2, 2019
Apple’s 5G modem project lead Ruben Caballero has left the company – April 29, 2019
Apple poached Intel 5G leader weeks before settlement with Qualcomm – April 29, 2019
Apple mulled buying Intel’s 5G business; showing openness to big deals – April 26, 2019
Intel admits Apple-Qualcomm settlement led to it dropping 5G modem – April 26, 2019
Winners and Losers of the Apple-Qualcomm detente – April 19, 2019
Why Intel’s smartphone strategy went off the rails yet again – April 19, 2019
Why did Intel kill off their modem program? – April 18, 2019
Here’s what likely happened between Apple, Qualcomm and Intel – April 17, 2019
Intel axes 5G modem plans after Apple and Qualcomm settle – April 17, 2019
After settlement with Apple, Qualcomm still faces other potential legal fallout – April 16, 2019
Qualcomm and Apple settle, agree to drop all litigation – April 16, 2019

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Chris” for the heads up.]


  1. Judge Koh’s summary,
    “”In sum, Qualcomm engaged in anticompetitive conduct with respect to Apple by (1) refusing to sell Apple modem chips or even share sample chips until Apple signed a license; (2) eliminating a competing standard supported by Intel; (3) attempting to require Apple to cross-license its entire patent portfolio to Qualcomm; and (4) and using Qualcomm’s monopoly power to enter exclusive deals with Apple that foreclosed Qualcomm’s rivals from selling modem chips to Apple from 2011 to September 2016.”
    I wonder if Apple and Qualcomm had any inkling of this ruling just before they settled. If they did, the settlement maybe more favourable to Apple than it looks on the surface.
    It will be interesting to see what the fall out to all of this will be as this will probably force some big changes to Qualcomm’s business practices. I wonder if the huge bonuses Qualcomm board approved might be revised.

  2. Al Capone was a mere candy snatcher compared to this lot. Cross Licence its entire patent portfolio? So does that mean they wanted free use of all of Apples chip technology? Talk about overstep the mark, how have they been allowed to get away with this extortionate behaviour for so long considering its been investigated since 2009.

  3. Hmmm, this may be why Intel also cancelled it’s modem chips to further abusive evidence soundly against Qualcomm. For all we know Apple and Intel may have been plotting to make Qualcomm look as legitimately bad as possible. Not that I’m complaining if so…

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