South Korea hands out $208m fine to Qualcomm

Record penalty for firm accused of anti-trust practices

The anti-trust organisation in South Korea has handed out a record fine to chip-maker Qualcomm after it said the company had abused its dominant position.

The $208m (£125m) fine is the largest imposed by the Korean Fair Trade commission, meted out after it found Qualcomm had been asking for higher royalties from companies that used rival products.

The chip maker was also found to be giving incentives to customers to use its products over rivals', in a case that strongly mirrored the one against Intel, where a record fine was also levied.

Abused position

"When licensing its CDMA mobile technology, Qualcomm levied higher royalties on companies that used modem chips supplied by rival companies," the commission said.

It also said that Qualcomm had used its position of having 99.4 per cent of Korean market to further strengthen its position, where it currently supplies two of the world's largest mobile phone manufacturers, LG and Samsung.

Qualcomm, which intends to appeal the finding should the fine stand and still proclaims its innocence, has said the ruling could have severe ramifications on the local mobile market, with Samsung and LG having no alternatives to the supplier.

Via Reuters

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Phones and Tablets Editor

Gareth (Twitter, Google+) has been part of the mobile phone industry from the era of the brick to the tiny device in the pocket... and now watching them grow back up to behemothic proportions once more. He's spent five years dissecting all the top phones in the world as TechRadar's Phones and Tablets Editor, and still can't resist answering the dreaded question - "which new phone should I get?" - with 15 choices.