Taiwan Fines Qualcomm $773 Million for Antitrust Violations

Taiwan Fines Qualcomm $773 Million for Antitrust Violations

Global telecoms chip leader Qualcomm Inc. said on Thursday it will contest Taiwan's levy of a NT$23.4 billion ($773 million) fine for anti-competitive behavior, marking the third such massive penalty against the company for similar practices. The fine has "no rational relationship" to Qualcomm's actual revenues in Taiwan, the company said.

As well as the fine, Qualcomm has been asked to stop including clauses in its contracts that require sensitive information from competitors on chip prices, sales targets, sales volumes, and product models; clauses that refuse to provide chips to cell phone manufacturers; and clauses that mandate exclusive trading concessions with specific businesses.

The Taiwan Fair Trade Commission is accusing Qualcomm of abusing its dominant position. Notably, Taiwanese companies purchased $30 billion worth of Qualcomm baseband chips.

Qualcomm disagrees with the fine and will appeal it - which is expected to take place in the coming weeks.

We'll just have to sit tight and see how this massive fine affects the other lawsuits now going on, but on the surface, it would appear from this latest development that Qualcomm might be nearing its tipping-point.

The whole fiasco began earlier this year when Apple, backed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, filed an injunction against Qualcomm for what the iPhone-maker alleged were unfair and monopolistic practices, claiming that the modem-maker withheld nearly $1 billion in rebates from its partners because of an ongoing South Korean anti-trust investigation.

The Taiwan Fair Trade Commission recently ruled in favor of the $773 million Dollars fine against Qualcomm, but the company plans on appealing the court's final word.

The fine comes on top of an existing $854 million fine in South Korea, a $975 million fine in China as well as lawsuits from Apple and the FTC.

As with many tech-related antitrust actions, it's clear that once a company achieves a certain level of market dominance a different set of rules apply to its behaviour.

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