EU fines Qualcomm $1.23B for paying Apple to use its chips

BRUSSELS — European regulators have fined Qualcomm $1.23 billion after concluding the U.S. mobile chipmaker bribed Apple to stifle competition by using its products exclusively in iPhones and iPads.

The penalty announced Wednesday marks the latest blemish on Qualcomm, whose business tactics have been portrayed as illegal abuses of power in lawsuits filed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Apple. Those cases are still making their way through the courts.

The European Union probe focused on a different area than the U.S. lawsuits. Those complaints allege Qualcomm has been imposing unfair licensing terms on Apple and other makers of mobile devices for technology that it didn’t invent.

European regulators contend Qualcomm secretly paid Apple to use its chips for connecting to high-speed cellular networks as long as Apple didn’t switch to rival products from 2011 to 2016. Without providing specifics, EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Qualcomm doled out “billions of dollars” to Apple during that period.

Europe is Apple’s second largest market behind North America. The region generated nearly $250 billion in revenue for Apple from 2011 through 2016, the period covered by the EU’s probe.

Some of the payments to Apple were cloaked as price cuts on Qualcomm components that were contingent on Apple refusing to buy chips from other companies, such as Intel, according to Vestager.

Qualcomm’s payments were designed to “illegally shut out rivals from the market,” Vestager said.

Qualcomm called the decision incorrect and vowed to appeal the fine, which amounts to 997 million euros. It represents less than 5 per cent of the $35 billion in cash that Qualcomm had stockpiled through September.

The San Diego company also has adamantly denied allegations that it has been gouging Apple and other mobile device makers with its licensing demands for its technology.

Apple declined to comment on the arrangement that triggered the European inquiry and the fine on Qualcomm.

Despite co-operating with Qualcomm for the better part of six years, Apple won’t face any repercussions in Europe, Vestager said. She cited internal documents showing Apple considered switching some of its work to Intel but could not do so financially until the end of the agreement.

Apple is now at odds with Qualcomm in a showdown involving billions of dollars. After filing a lawsuit seeking $1 billion from Qualcomm for alleged extortion, Apple and its suppliers began withholding royalty payments to Qualcomm until the legal dispute is resolved. The suit already is a year old.

Qualcomm’s financial alliance with Apple made it easier to sell chips to smaller manufacturers swayed by what kinds of components were being used in the trend-setting iPhone and iPad, Vestager said.

She believes the competition in the mobile chip market has been restored in the European market now that Qualcomm Inc. is no longer paying Apple Inc. to use its products.

Just Posted

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

Restaurant owner concerned about Gasoline Alley road changes

Nearly 20 trucks were lined up on the service road in front… Continue reading

Preliminary hearings set for two men charged in weapons and drugs bust

A Red Deer man and Sylvan Lake man are facing 80 charges

WATCH: Hypnotizing show at Westerner Days

Hynotist and mentalist Joshua Seth performs three times a day at Westerner Days

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

A hairy issue: Sailors tell the US Navy, ‘We want beards’

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Now that women in the Navy can wear ponytails,… Continue reading

PHOTOS: River Town Saints rock Red Deer

River Town Saints play Westerner Days Friday in Red Deer

PHOTOS: Dogs, horses and more animals at Westerner Days

Westerner Park’s pavilions were filled with animals during Westerner Days

Red Deer residents can’t get enough mini-doughnuts

Mini-doughnuts were the biggest draw to Westerner Days according to a Red… Continue reading

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff vehicles were also involved in the collision

Divers hunt for 4 after Missouri duck boat sinks, killing 13

BRANSON, Mo. — Divers are searching Friday for four people still missing… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month