Qualcomm Settles Taiwan Antitrust Case, Fine Slashed By 90%

Qualcomm settled its antitrust dispute with the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission, having managed to effectively reduce the original $773 million fine it was hit with last year by nearly 90-percent, the company announced Thursday. Following nearly a year of legal battles, the company successfully concluded the case that first saw it penalized for monopolistic behavior and unfair patent licensing practices with a range of concessions, describing the new agreement as beneficial for both parties. The equivalent of $89 million in fines the chipmaker already paid since last October will be kept by the TFTC but the rest of the fine has now been officially waived as part of the settlement.

In exchange, the San Diego, California-based semiconductor giant vowed to invest $700 million in Taiwan's economy over the next half a decade, with the majority of that sum being meant to be injected into the technology R&D segment, particularly that pertaining to chips, smartphones, and 5G. While the firm also pledged to maintain good-faith royalty rates, the settlement doesn't dictate any specific financial terms it must follow. Qualcomm Technology Licensing EVP Alex Rogers said the agreement directly addresses the TFTC's concerns while simultaneously formalizing Qualcomm's ambition to continue building business ties in the Far Eastern country, effectively calling the development a win for both sides.

Qualcomm is still embroiled in a number of legal battles over unfair patent licensing practices with Apple and while the Cupertino-based technology juggernaut is expected to completely circumvent its chips with this year's iPhone lineup, the two sides may bury the hatchet in time for 5G commercialization as Qualcomm remains by far the most viable option for versatile 5G modems, industry sources said earlier this summer. Following the collapse of its NXP bid in late July, Qualcomm was left with no clear path toward aggressive diversification and now has to continue ensuring its sustainability on its own, with the company being unlikely to attempt major tie-ups in the near future.

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Dominik Bosnjak

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]