QUALCOMM HAS BEEN TOLD it must license its modem technology to rival tech firms like Intel to allow for fair competition in the cellular chip market.
That ruling comes courtesy of US federal Judge Lucy Koh as part of the US Federal Trade Commission's antitrust lawsuit brought against Qualcomm in early 2017, Reuters reported.
This is a preliminary ruling ahead of the lawsuit that's expected to go to trial next year. But it's one that Qualcomm must take action upon as its request for a 30-day delay on the ruling as the chipmaker tried to come to an out-of-court settlement was denied.
Whether the ruling will directly affect Qualcomm's success in flogging modem chips has yet to be seen, given the likes of Intel have their own wireless comms tech. But Qualcomm's shares took a minor tumble following the news of the ruling, and we doubt Qualcomm will be too happy being forced to license out some of its patents to would-be rivals.
The ruling, and indeed the lawsuit, could be seen as a slap in the chops for the San Diego chip maker given it's already battling Apple in a lawsuit over patent royalties.
And Qualcomm has been rather battered with various lawsuits and regulatory challenges aimed at how it conducts its business all over the world.
As such, we wouldn't be surprised to see Qualcomm come to a settlement with the FTC before the lawsuit goes to trial. After all, it's already settled a lawsuit with regulators in Taiwan in the summer, which saw the chip maker hand over $93m and agreed to invest some $700m into Taiwan over the next five years.
Hopefully such settlements won't lead to staff getting axed to save Qualcomm money, and instead will free-up the chipmaker to focus its efforts on releasing new attention-grabbing Snapdragon chipsets for, say, the Samsung Galaxy S10. µ
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