World’s chipset giant Qualcomm tried to show off its prowess at the latest trial it had against the US Federal Trade Commission. The two entities have been battling themselves since January 4th 2019 and FTC wrapped up its case against Qualcomm on Tuesday.
The problem started when FTC accused Qualcomm of operating a monopoly in wireless chips and forcing companies like Apple to work exclusively with it, charging massive licensing fee for its products and services.
Qualcomm had the opportunity to present its own case and said that FTC’s case is based on flawed legal theory. Qualcomm further said that customers choose its chips because they are simply the best and that it never stopped offering products and services to other customers apart from Apple. The chip-making company said it has continued doing that even while both were battling over licenses.
Two leading figures from the company stood up to narrate the Qualcomm’s innovations in wireless technology. One of them, narrated how the company navigated through the years of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology came to him while driving. The company charged upfront fee and also royalties based on sales of CDMA devices.
Qualcomm wanted to have something low enough that it did not impede progress even if it became a commercial product and it wanted to see the product used as broadly as possible earth wide.
Today, CDMA or GSM is still very much used fundamentally in different technologies, yet Qualcomm holds most of the important patents related to CDMA. This tech later enabled data on 3G networks.
This battle is not new. Two years ago, the FTC, Intel, and Apple filed suit against Qualcomm. At that time too, the US said the company had monopoly on modem chips and it harmed competition by trying to maintain its power.
It was clarified that Qualcomm’s expensive royalties prevented rivals from entering the market. And not just that, it also drove up the cost of phones. The ricocheting effect on customers was negative because customers had to pay higher prices on smartphones.