Abuse of Dominance and Exclusive Deals: Qualcomm’s Chipsets are Down

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On January 24, 2017, the European Commission announced that it had fined Qualcomm EUR 997,439,000. The Commission thinks that Qualcomm had abused its dominant position to become Apple’s sole supplier of long term evolution (“LTE“) baseband chipsets. The abuse was allegedly committed through exclusive deals, which lasted from 2011 to 2016. Baseband chipsets are key components in smartphones and tablets, which enable connection with wireless voice and data networks. LTE (also known as 4G) is a global technical standard for high-speed mobile communication. The official press release provides some detail on the Commission’s findings. It also raises a few questions, which should be addressed when the decision is published.