Qualcomm wins fight against $1 bln EU fine

STORY: Qualcomm won its fight against a $1 billion EU fine on Wednesday (June 15).

Antitrust regulators hit the U.S. chipmaker with the penalty four years ago.

In 2018, the European Commission argued Qualcomm paid billions of dollars to Apple from 2011 to 2016.

It alleged the money encouraged Apple to use only Qualcomm chips in all its iPhones and iPads, which would block out rivals like Intel.

But Europe’s second-highest judicial authority - the General Court - annulled the EU's finding Wednesday.

It raised concerns over ‘procedural irregularities’ by the EU's competition enforcer, which hurt Qualcomm’s right of defense.

The Court argued the Commission hadn't shown the payments had actually reduced Apple’s incentives to switch to a rival.

The ruling is a blow to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, who has led a crackdown on big tech.

It's also the second big defeat for her this year.

She lost the court’s backing in January for another $1 billion fine on Intel.

It may not be over for Qualcomm yet, though.

The EU enforcer can appeal to the the Court of Justice - Europe’s highest court.

The Commission said it would study the findings and consider its next steps.

Qualcomm did not immediately comment.

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