FTC drops Qualcomm antitrust lawsuit after four-year battle

The previous few years have seen numerous authorities businesses file complaints or lawsuits in opposition to large tech corporations however, again in 2017, that wasn’t a standard factor. That’s what made the US FTC’s resolution to file an antitrust lawsuit in opposition to Qualcomm again then a landmark case that might additionally rattle the cellular market in its wake. The FTC initially scored a victory in 2019 however misplaced on attraction final yr. As a substitute of the deliberate request for evaluation, nonetheless, this yr’s FTC has determined to not pursue the case additional, virtually letting Qualcomm get away with the anticompetitive practices it was accused of.

In 2019, District Choose Lucy Koh of Apple v. Samsung fame dominated in favor of the FTC and located Qualcomm responsible of abusing its dominant place to extract extreme licensing charges from its prospects, a protracted listing that features the likes of Apple, Samsung, and nearly all smartphone makers. Though finest identified for making and promoting cellular processors, Qualcomm’s greatest income truly come from its IP licenses and its “no license, no chip” type of enterprise was probably the most contested expressions of its anticompetitive conduct.

Final yr, nonetheless, a three-judge Appeals Court docket panel overturned that ruling, arguing that whereas aggressive, the competitors didn’t truly represent unlawful conduct. Qualcomm would have in any other case been compelled to alter its profitable enterprise mannequin had it not gained that attraction. The chipmaker argued that it was truly that licensing technique that allowed it to drive innovation in that cellular market.

Below appearing chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, the FTC has determined it is going to not search a Supreme Court docket evaluation of the attraction. The company makes it clear that it agreed with federal district choose Koh’s ruling nevertheless it additionally confronted “vital headwinds” to have the attraction overturned. In different phrases, it had to decide on its battles and it has determined to focus as an alternative on higher implementing antitrust legal guidelines.

That call, nonetheless, is just about a vindication of Qualcomm’s enterprise practices even when it wasn’t meant to be so. In fact, Qualcomm could be very blissful to finish the four-year authorized dispute and can most likely now be emboldened to strengthen its licensing technique much more now that it has stood the take a look at of lawsuits.

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