FTC Accuses Qualcomm of Anticompetitive Behavior
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission today filed a complaint against Qualcomm, alleging the chip-maker uses its market position to monopolize the sale of cell phone baseband processors. The FTC says Qualcomm is violating the FTC Act in several ways. First, Qualcomm refuses to license standard-essential patents to competitors even though it has committed to do so. Second, Qualcomm won't sell its baseband processors to customers unless they agree to Qualcomm's licensing terms. The FTC says this "no license, no chips" policy leads to elevated royalties. Last, Qualcomm offered Apple reduced patent royalties in exchange for exclusively using Qualcomm baseband processors for a period of 5 years. The FTC hopes a court order will force Qualcomm to cease its anticompetitive behavior and prevent further unfair business practices. "By excluding competitors, Qualcomm impedes innovation that would offer significant consumer benefits, including those that foster the increased interconnectivity of consumer products, vehicles, buildings, and the Internet of Things," said the government. Qualcomm did not immediately respond to the FTC's action. Qualcomm recently ran into similar legal trouble in South Korea, which fined the chip maker nearly $900 million over its anticompetitive business practices. Qualcomm has already settled with China and the European Union over similar charges.
Jan 24, 2018
The European Union has levied a fine of $1.23 billion against Qualcomm, alleging the chipmaking used its influence to score lucrative chip deals with Apple between 2011 and 2016. The EU says Qualcomm gave Apple massive discounts on baseband chips, the components that allow smartphones and tablets to speak to cell towers, so that Apple would not use components from competing firms.
Jan 21, 2017
Apple has filed a lawsuit against partner Qualcomm, alleging the mobile chipmaker used its monopoly power to push for "onerous, unreasonable and costly" licensing terms. Moreover, Apple says Qualcomm prevented it from seeking chips from other suppliers between 2011 and 2016.
May 15, 2017
Intel and Samsung support the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust investigation against Qualcomm and have filed amicus briefs to air their own complaints. The FTC hit Qualcomm with legal action in January and suggested that the company's patent licensing practices may violate monopoly regulations.
Feb 27, 2018
The FTC can gun for AT&T once again, according to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which says the agency has the purview to regulate large internet service providers.
Mar 26, 2018
The Federal Trade Commission today said it is examining Facebook's privacy policies and practices. The inquiry comes as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw the data of millions of Facebook users shared by an app to an analysis firm that use it create profiles of U.S.