After being slapped with a $774 million fine for antitrust violations, Qualcomm has reached an agreement with Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission to remedy the situation. The California-based tech giant will only be forced to pay $93 million of the initial fine — money which it has already paid — and it must follow a handful of other rules put in place by the Taiwanese regulator.
The dispute arose after Taiwan’s regulator said that the chip maker abused its monopoly power over smartphone modems by putting higher patent licensing fees on companies that use the devices in their products. Last October when the initial fine had been announced, Taiwan’s FTC claimed that the patents Qualcomm holds over its chip designs kept other potential chip makers from finding a footing in the market. Both China and South Korea had already fined Qualcomm over accusations of anti-competitive behavior, and Apple has put forth several lawsuits against Qualcomm for similar practices.
Under the new agreement, the fine has dramatically dropped but the company is now required to work with the Taiwanese government on rolling out 5G capabilities in the country along with building new manufacturing plants there. Any discounts that Qualcomm gave to customers for exclusivity deals will be halted, and if any partner believes it’s signed an unjust deal, Qualcomm can’t simply pull out its chip supplies while the deal is being renegotiated.