Chipmaker Qualcomm has won its fight against a 997 million euro (about US$1.05 billion) fine imposed by European Union (EU) antitrust regulators four years ago, “dealing a major setback to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s crackdown on Big Tech,” according to Reuters.
In January 2018, . In January, Apple filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm, alleging the chip supplier demanded unfair terms for its technology. However, Qualcomm denied the allegations and said Apple wouldn’t have an iPhone business if it weren’t for fair licensing of the company’s essential tech.
The European Commission in its 2018 decision said Qualcomm paid billions of dollars to Apple from 2011 to 2016 to use only its chips in all its iPhones and iPads in order to block out rivals such as Intel.
The General Court, Europe’s second-highest, annulled the EU finding and faulted the EU competition enforcer over the handling of the case.
These days Apple and Qualcomm are frenemies. The latter supplies modems for some of the former’s products, but that partnership will slowly dissolve as Apple begins making its own modems.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks the first Apple-designed 5G modem is likely to debut in 2023 iPhones.
“We predict that the iPhone will adopt Apple’s own design 5G baseband chips in 2023 at the earliest,” he said. “As Android sales in the high-end 5G phone market are sluggish, Qualcomm will be forced to compete for more orders in the low-end market to compensate for Apple’s order loss. When the supply constraints improve, MediaTek and Qualcomm will have less bargaining power over brands, resulting in significantly higher competitive pressure in the mid-to low- end market.”