Qualcomm Successfully Appeals 997 Million Euros ($ 1 Billion) This Week fine imposed by European Union regulators in 2019. The fine was initially imposed after the European Commission ruled that between 2011 and 2016, the chipmaker paid billions of dollars to Apple to use exclusively its chips in all its iPhones and iPads, an act that violates antitrust EU laws.
The decision to cancel the fine came after the second highest court in Europe, the General Court, found that “a number of procedural irregularities affect Qualcomm’s rights of defense”, which ultimately invalidated the Commission’s analysis.
IN judgment was also very critical of key aspects of the Commission ‘s legal service process, including the fact that meetings with third parties were not recorded or that the notes of the meetings were too general for Qualcomm to properly understand the complaints against it.
Reason for concern?
Zack Myers, a senior fellow at the Center for European Reform, said the findings could lead to concerns in the Commission’s legal service that these problems were endemic at the time, leading other Commission decisions to be vulnerable to appeal.
This is the second major loss for the Commission on the issue of concessions and incentives after CEO canceled an antitrust fine of 1 billion euros from Intel in February.
Myers said there could still be worse for the Commission, noting that in a few months the European Court of Justice is expected to rule on the Google Android case, which is investigating whether Google has provided incentives or imposed requirements on manufacturers. phones to pre-install Google Apps and search capabilities on Android phones.
“The decisions of both Qualcomm and Intel suggest that the court will critically evaluate the Commission’s analysis,” Myers said.
Given that there are now a number of cases in which the Court has carefully examined how the Commission has assessed whether concessions are anti-competitive, this shows that the Court is concerned about the Commission’s overall approach to concessions.
Myers explained that placing a heavy burden on the Commission to properly analyze the competitive effects of concessions, a process that is time consuming and requires data, could lead the Commission to move away from future concessions and instead focus more on cases. of abuse falling within the scope of the new Digital Markets Act.
“There is a lot of potential harm if the Commission wrongly condemns concessions and concessions as anti-competitive,” he said.
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