South Korean antitrust authority fines Qualcomm a record $853m
Seoul/San Francisco — South Korea’s antitrust watchdog slapped Qualcomm with a record 1.03-trillion won ($853m) fine for breaking antitrust law, the latest in a string of government actions that threaten the US chip maker’s most profitable business. The South Korean Fair Trade Commission said on Wednesday that the company licensed its key patents only to mobile-phone makers and did not negotiate the terms of its licences properly. The agency said Qualcomm coerced customers into signing patent licence contracts when selling its chips used in mobile phones in the country, and did not pay fairly for the use of patents held by other phone makers. The decision from the home country of Samsung Electronics adds to investor concern that the San Diego-based chip maker, which is also the subject of investigations in the US and Europe, may struggle to defend its lucrative licensing business. Qualcomm gets most of its profit — $6.5bn in its most recent financial year — from selling the right to...
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