Qualcomm Inc. accused European Union investigators on “bias” in the direction Apple Inc. when they imposed a € 997 million ($ 1.2 billion) antitrust fine on it for allegedly pressured an iPhone maker to buy only its 4G chips.
IN The European Commission “conducted a biased investigation” and allowed Apple to “dictate evidence, narrative and conclusions,” Miguel Rato, a Qualcomm lawyer, told the EU General Court on Tuesday, citing an internal Apple memo. It was “gross and unjustified mismanagement.”
In the first of three days of hearings in Luxembourg, Qualcomm said the 2015 document showed EU officials “secretly dealt with Apple several times” before concluding in 2018 that the world’s largest smartphone chip maker was making illegal payments. Apple to ensure that the chips are used in the iPhone and iPad.
The 2018 fine, one of the largest for the bloc at the time, followed years of careful EU scrutiny and a previously unsuccessful investigation into the company. In 2019, Qualcomm received a second € 242 million fine from the EU. fell earlier this year.
Apple’s dominance over its suppliers is key to solving Qualcomm’s problem, as is the case with the US. test this week where Epic Games Inc. accuses Apple of misusing its power to get high payments from developers.
Despite being accused of sided with Apple instead of Qualcomm, the EU has had its own lengthy disputes with the American tech giant. Last week, Margrethe Vestager, head of EU antitrust law, escalated antitrust investigations against its App Store more than four years after it ordered the company to pay billions of dollars in tax arrears.
On Tuesday, the EU said in a dispute that Qualcomm had tied Apple’s hands and thwarted competitors such as Intel Corp., from sales to one of the largest device manufacturers in the world.
The EU case “amounts to about $ 3 billion that Qualcomm paid Apple in exchange for Apple’s exclusivity for chipsets compatible with the LTE standard on which 4G mobile communications are based,” the commission’s lawyer, Nicholas Hahn, told the court.
Qualcomm’s agreements include “a carefully crafted combination of incentives in the form of increased payments and threats in the form of obligations to reimburse expenses in the event of infringement of exclusive rights,” said Khan. They “brought significant strategic benefits” as Apple played a very important role in the expanding market for LTE chipsets in 2011.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Qualcomm case.
Case: T-235/18, Qualcomm v. Commission.
– With the assistance of Aoife White