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Last week’s $773 million fine against Qualcomm from the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission is being questioned by a separate executive government agency in that country.
The Ministry for Economic Affairs, a cabinet-level department overseeing trade, foreign direct investment, intellectual property and other economic policy, issued a statement this week following the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission’s record fine against Qualcomm for unfair business practices.
The ministry said it respects the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission’s position. But the fine – the largest ever levied by the Taiwan -- and other findings have the Ministry “deeply concerned,” according to a translation from its website.
“Qualcomm has always been an indispensable partner for the Taiwanese communications and semiconductor industry,” according to the Ministry’s statement. “The future is based on 5G (5th generation mobile communications) and AI (artificial intelligence) as a basis for covering areas such as automotive, healthcare and intelligent factories. But the results of this ruling failed to measure its contribution to the overall industry and future business opportunities. The results will affect the future of foreign investment in Taiwan.”
Quacomm didn’t respond for a request for comment.
The company has been in the cross-hairs of several global anti-monopoly regulators. In addition to Taiwan’s fine last week, South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission in December levied a $900 million penalty against the San Diego company. The U.S. Fair Trade Commission also has filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm, which is pending in a Northern California Federal Court.
Regulators contend Qualcomm’s business practices enable it to leverage its market dominance in 3G/4G cellular modems to force smartphone makers to overpay for its portfolio of cellular patents.
Qualcomm denies the claims. It is appealing the fines and rulings in Taiwan and South Korea.
The company also is fighting a fierce legal war with Apple, which makes similar claims that Qualcomm uses its market dominance in cellular modem chips to extract exorbitant patent royalties from smartphone makers. Contract manufacturers that build iPhones and iPads have stopped paying patent royalties to Qualcomm for Apple – which cut Qualcomm revenue by roughly $500 million per quarter.
Qualcomm cntends Apple has instigated the regulatory actions by providing false information.
Qualcomm’s shares ended trading Thursday up 8 cents at $52.29 on the Nasdaq exchange.