Qualcomm Successfully Appeals $1.05 Billion EU Fine for Paying Apple to Use Its Mobile Chips

Qualcomm has successfully appealed a 997 million euro ($1.05 billion) fine from EU antitrust regulators for paying Apple to use its LTE chips in iOS devices (via Reuters).

qualcomm iphone xs
The fine was imposed by regulators in 2018 after a European Commission investigation concluded that payments to Apple from 2011 to 2016 were made with the sole aim of blocking Qualcomm's LTE chipset market rivals, such as Intel.

The General Court, Europe's second-highest, annulled the EU finding and faulted the EU competition enforcer, Margrethe Vestager, over the handling of the case.

"A number of procedural irregularities affected Qualcomm's rights of defence and invalidate the Commission's analysis of the conduct alleged against Qualcomm," judges said.

"The Commission did not provide an analysis which makes it possible to support the findings that the payments concerned had actually reduced Apple's incentives to switch to Qualcomm's competitors in order to obtain supplies of LTE chipsets for certain iPad models to be launched in 2014 and 2015."

The EU competition enforcer can appeal the judgement to the EU Court of Justice, Europe's highest court. The Commission said it would carefully study the judgement before considering its next steps.

The judgement is another painful setback to Vestager's crackdown on Big Tech. The loss represents Vestager's second major defeat after failing to get the court's backing in January for a 1.06 billion euro fine on Intel 12 years ago for engaging in illegal anti-competitive practices to exclude rival AMD. Before January, the Commission hadn't lost a big antitrust case in more than 20 years.

Qualcomm's fine is one of several imposed by the EU antitrust chief on companies including Google, Facebook, and Amazon over anti-competitive practices.

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Top Rated Comments

Leon Ze Professional Avatar
27 months ago
In 2022: Big Tech Companies vs European Commission
Scoreline 2-0 in favour of Big Tech Companies.

Tonight the European Commission will be licking there wounds to there bruised ego.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Martinpa Avatar
27 months ago

Hopefully their mandate for usb-c doesn’t suffer a similar fate in the courts.
Hopefully it does…

Should most tech devices have USB-C? In 2022, yeah. Should it be any governing body’s role to force companies to do the switch? No.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mitochris Avatar
27 months ago
For some this ruling will show that the system is working, while for others it will suggest that it is broken. Pick which ever you want and be a d*ck about it.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mansplains Avatar
27 months ago

Hopefully it does…

Should most tech devices have USB-C? In 2022, yeah. Should it be any governing body’s role to force companies to do the switch? No.
Come on, the government exists to help regulate the biggest issues we face. I can't think of anything more pressing than mobile phone ports /s
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NightFox Avatar
27 months ago
It always seems in these forums that so many people have such a knee-jerk reaction against anything proposed by the EU or national governments that they just adopt a default position against it without even thinking about the nature of the ruling. What we're talking about here is Apple making decisions on the components they're putting in iPhones based not on what offers the best quality/price point, but on who pays them the most. How is that good for the consumer?

Yet again, people falling over themselves to protect Apple's corporate wellbeing ahead of their own individual interests. Hint: put yourself first, Apple will be just fine.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
entropys Avatar
27 months ago
How will the euroweenie bureaucrats retaliate now?
They will not stop until they restore the divine right of kings. And they believe they will be the kings.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)