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European Commission fines Qualcomm €997M for Apple deal

Neil Hodge | February 13, 2018

In yet another sign that the EU’s executive body is ready to hand out heavy penalties for breaking competition rules, the European Commission has hit Qualcomm, the world’s largest smartphone chip-maker, with a €997.4 million (U.S.$1.23 billion) fine for setting up a deal to be Apple’s sole supplier for five years.

The Commission held that Qualcomm’s attempts to secure exclusive supply terms with the computer giant was an abuse of its dominant position, with the company effectively paying Apple to use its chips. The Commission found that Qualcomm prevented rivals from competing in the market by making “significant” illegal payments to Apple—amounting to billions of dollars largely through price reductions—on condition that it would not buy from rivals.

The penalty—the third largest imposed by the Commission for market abuse, after Google’s €2.42 billion (US$2.99 billion) fine last year and Intel’s €1.06 billion (U.S.$1.31 billion) fine in 2009—equals 4.9 percent of...

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