The European Commission announced it would penalize the Qualcomm giant with an amount equivalent to 4.9% of its revenues in 2017. The $ 993m fine was decided on an antitrust investigation that revealed practices by which the US giant, has abusively strengthened its dominant position as a manufacturer of LTE modems for mobile devices
According to the official communiqué published by European commissioner Margrethe Vestager, "Qualcomm has prevented for more than 5 years the intrusion of other LTE chipset manufacturers by resorting to illegal means to strengthen their dominant position."
Qualcomm has paid billions of dollars to one of Apple's most influential customers, gaining exclusivity in supplying LTE chipsets for all iPhone and iPad models produced between 2011 and 2016. The payments made were not simply deductions from the price of the delivered products but were conditioned by Apple's commitment not to use other LTE communications solutions than those provided by Qualcomm
The agreement between the two companies thus excluded the possibility of a real competition, denying consumers and other companies in the industry the chance to choose and introduce new innovative technologies
Don Rosenberg, vice-president of Qualcomm, denied the allegations and announced the contestation of the fine decided on behalf of European consumers