Qualcomm Antitrust Lawsuit Dropped After 4 Years
Four years ago, FTC filed an antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm, and it has finally come to an end. The case was filed initially back in 2017. According to the case, Qualcomm took part in"anti-competitive supply and licensing terms" that were responsible for strangling the competition in the LTE modem market. At that time, both Intel and Samsung backed FTC's claims.
Qualcomm is Finally Out of the Woods As FTC Drops the Antitrust Lawsuit
Qualcomm's licensing model consists of charging a royalty based on devices' overall cost for those who don't know. This means that the higher the price of the smartphone, the more Qualcomm is going to charge. FTC wanted Qualcomm to change the licensing terms and talked about how Qualcomm has turned into a monopoly because of the same practices.
Although FTC won the case back in 2019, the victory did not live long enough as Qualcomm managed to reverse the ruling back at the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last year.
On FTC's website, Rebecca Slaughter, the chairwoman, has talked about how there were "significant headwinds facing the Commission," which means that they are dropping the lawsuit altogether. You can read the statement below.
The FTC's staff did an exceptional job presenting the case, and I continue to believe that the district court's conclusion that Qualcomm violated the antitrust laws was entirely correct and that the court of appeals erred in concluding otherwise.
Now more than ever, the FTC and other law enforcement agencies need to boldly enforce the antitrust laws to guard against abusive behavior by dominant firms, including in high-technology markets and those that involve intellectual property.
Slaughter has also talked about that FTC will continue to look for "anticompetitive or unfair behavior" in this place, but as for what the future holds, it is still unknown. As far as Qualcomm is concerned, this is what Don Rosenberg, general counsel to Qualcomm, had to say,
Qualcomm got to where it is today by investing tens of billions of dollars in R&D and inventing technologies used by billions of people around the world.
Now, more than ever, we must preserve the fundamental incentives to innovate and compete.