Qualcomm faces $774 million antitrust fine in Taiwan


A San Diego-based company hit with a multi-million dollar fine by the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission (TFTC) following an investigation says it will be appealing the decision.

The penalty is the largest handed out to a single company since the Taiwanese antitrust authority was established.

Qualcomm was fined a record $773 million by Taiwanese regulators for violating antitrust laws for at least the last seven years. It plans to call for a stay on "any required behavioral measures" and will appeal the FTC's action in Taiwanese courts.

Qualcomm Inc 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 USA regulators and iPhone maker Apple Inc in court over numerous same legal issues.

The refusal by Qualcomm, the FTC said, failed to meet the requirement of European Telecommunications Standards Institute, which asked its members to license their technologies to its other market players. Innovative companies like Icera can be hobbled by Qualcomm-like practices which stop them growing into major companies.

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"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", the agency said in an announcement, Bloomberg reported.

During the seven-year period, the FTC said, Qualcomm collected about NT$400 billion in licensing fees in Taiwan after licensing agreements were signed, while Taiwanese buyers paid about an additional NT$30 billion to buy the USA firm's baseband chips. Once the final decision is issued in the coming weeks, Qualcomm said it will challenge the decision in court.

It was the latest blow to Qualcomm in global antitrust probes.

Similarly Qualcomm's $975 million fine from China looks puny set against Qualcomm's $11 billion annual revenues from China.