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Taiwan monopoly regulator fines Qualcomm more than $770M

12 October 2017

Qualcomm was hit with a healthy fine of $23.4 billion Taiwan dollars (around $773 million in USD) for reportedly violating Taiwan's competition law, and the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission (TFTC) recently issued a press release saying that it agrees with this fine.

Qualcomm disagrees with the ruling and says that it plans to appeal both the ruling and the fine.

Qualcomm holds big number of standard essential patents in CDMA, WCDMA and LTE segments and is the dominant provider of CDMA, WCDMA and LTE baseband chips.

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The Taiwanese decision is the latest challenge to Qualcomm's business model, which involves selling chips and also licensing a suite of patents related to how those chips are put into a phone to provide mobile data to the device. But China's National Development and Reform Commission left intact Qualcomm's long-standing business model of charging patent royalties for its cellular technology based on a percentage of the total price of the smartphone.

In Taiwan, sales accounted for 12% of Qualcomm's revenue in 2016.

In January, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued Qualcomm, alleging the company engaged in unlawful tactics to maintain a monopoly on cellular-communications chips.

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Regulators at the European Commission, as well as in China and South Korea, have all filed antitrust charges against Qualcomm, claiming that it has used anti-competitive methods to squeeze out rivals.

Qualcomm has been hit with a almost $774 million fine by Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission, which said today that the chip maker abused its monopoly over smartphone modems to squeeze higher licensing fees and better terms out of its customers.

Qualcomm Inc QCOM.O faces an antitrust fine in Taiwan, the latest in a years-long streak of regulatory setbacks to its business model that comes as it also fights US regulators and iPhone maker Apple Inc AAPL.O in court over numerous same legal issues. It also agreed to modify some of its patent-licensing practices in that country.

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Taiwan monopoly regulator fines Qualcomm more than $770M