After being handed a number of antitrust fines over its apparent abuse of power, Qualcomm is currently facing a consumer lawsuit which could view it forced to pay UK phone owners. The country’s leading consumer association Which? is suing the Snapdragon chip maker to the tune of £482.5 million ($683 million) in damages for allegedly breaching competition law.
Which? claims Qualcomm used its dominance in the patent-licensing and processor markets by charging Apple and Samsung inflated fees because of its tech licenses, that have been then offered to consumers by means of higher smartphone prices. It estimates that folks who purchased Apple or Samsung handsets since 2015 could possibly be eligible for between £17 to £30 ($24 to $42) according to the number and kind of smartphones they bought.
Qualcomm has rubbished the allegations. “Because the plaintiffs are well aware, their claims were effectively put to rest last summer by way of a unanimous panel of judges at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the usa,” an organization spokesman told BBC News , referencing the FTC suit for unfair practices from 2017 that has been dismissed this past year.
The most recent challenge echoes the legal actions which have haunted the beleaguered chip giant in the last many years. While $683 million represents bit more than 2.8 percent of Qualcomm’s revenue in 2020, the business has struggled to free itself from the resulting bad publicity of litigation and fines woes. In Asia alone, it’s been slapped with antitrust penalties in China previously, Korea and Taiwan that amounted to over $2.6 billion.
Meanwhile, the European Commission fined it €997 million ($1.23 billion) in 2018 for paying Apple to secure a special modem deal. And in 2019 again, when it had been struck with a €242 million fine ($271 million at that time) for alleged price dumping on 3G chips.