Qualcomm has been hit by a fine of €997 million ($1.2 billion) from the European Union for violating antitrust laws in a series of deals with Apple.
The US chipmaker is accused of paying the iPhone-maker billions of dollars between 2011 and 2016 to exclusively use Qualcomm’s LTE chips in its iPhone and other devices. “This meant that no rival could effectively challenge Qualcomm in this market, no matter how good their products were,” said EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager in a press statement. “This is illegal under EU antitrust rules and why we have taken today’s decision.”
The fine is significant in and of itself, but it’s perhaps more important considering Qualcomm’s other challenges. The company is currently being sued by Apple on related charges, with the iPhone-maker accusing Qualcomm of “exclusionary tactics and excessive royalties” that it says has cost it billions of dollars.
At the same time, Qualcomm faces a takeover from rival chipmaker Broadcom, which is seeking to buy the company for more than $100 billion. Qualcomm’s board have so far rejected Broadcom’s offer, but if the company continues to suffer from fines and legal battles, it may reconsider the advantages of a merger.