Apple suppliers file antitrust case against Qualcomm

Foxconn and thee others claim chipmaker's business methods are anticompetitive

Four Apple suppliers have added their voices to claims of anti-competitive behaviour by chipmaker Qualcomm, filing a complaint in the District Court for the Southern District of California.

Hon Hai Precision Industry - the parent firm of Foxconn, Wistron, Compal Electronics and Pegatron - has alleged that the silicon giant had broken two sections of the Sherman Act, the antitrust law of the US.

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Theodore Boutrous, a lawyer acting on behalf of all four companies, said in a statement: "Qualcomm has confirmed publicly that this lawsuit against our clients is intended to make a point about Apple and punish our clients for working with Apple," Reuters reports.

"The companies are bringing their own claims and defences against Qualcomm."

The US case is part of a larger argument between Qualcomm and Apple about the chipmakers licensing model and is the latest in a number of civil claims files by the companies against each other and their supply chain.

Qualcomm is also embroiled in an antitrust case with the EU, in which it is accused of anticompetitive behaviour against British firm Icera where, once again, the case surrounds the licensing model for its chips. According to Reuters the company is also under investigation by South Korean regulators.

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In response to the claim, Qualcomm president, Derek Aberle, said: "It is clear that Apple is controlling all of the contract manufacturers' statements and actions in the litigation. If Apple hadn't interfered with the licenses and instructed the contract manufacturers to take these actions the contract manufacturers would not be contesting the licenses now."

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18/07/2017: Qualcomm faces 580k daily fine after losing antitrust appeal

Chipmaker Qualcomm has lost an appeal against antitrust charges issued by the European Commission, which could leave it facing a massive daily fine.

The American business is accused of using anti-competitive methods to force UK mobile wireless technology firm Icera out of the market in a case that has been going on for more than seven years.

Qualcomm was asked by the Commission to provide information relating to the case, but claimed it would cost at least 3 million to do so, saying that the data, which relates to its sales tactics, involves more than 50 employees and 16 external advisors.

The chipmaker appealed for the order to be suspended, but was denied by the court president, Marc Jaeger, on 12 July.

As reported by ReutersJaeger said in his ruling: "The applicant does not claim that its financial viability would be at risk or that its market share could be affected substantially.

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"Furthermore, it does not give any explanation as to why it would be impossible to seek compensation for the alleged financial costs it would suffer by answering the questions."

Qualcomm now faces a potential daily fine of 580,000 (515,141) until it produces the information.

This is one of two ongoing anti-trust cases facing Qualcomm in the EU. If found guilty, the company could be fined up to 10% of its global turnover for each one.

Qualcomm is also involved in another unrelated court case in the US, where it's being sued by Apple over licensing fees for the chips, which are used by its iPhones. Qualcomm's CEO expects that case to be settled out of court, however, according to Fortune.

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