Qualcomm is facing a daily fine of €580,000 for withholding information from EU antitrust regulators. Losing its appeal against the penalty in a EU court, the US chipmaker now must hand over the documents demanded by the antitrust regulators or face racking up an enormous fine.
Court President Marc Jaeger dismissed the appeal saying that there was no evidence as to why Qualcomm should withhold the information from regulators. "The applicant does not claim that its financial viability would be at risk or that its market share could be affected substantially," he said. "Furthermore, it does not give any explanation as to why it would be impossible to seek compensation for the alleged financial costs it would suffer by answering the questions."
The company said the EU competition authority’s demand entailed enormous work and significant financial costs estimated at no less than 3 million euros as it involved more than 50 employees and 16 external advisers, according to its court filing.
This is not the first – and probably won’t be the last – time that Qualcomm has been hit with the EU’s hefty mantel. Qualcomm, was previously charged by the European Commission for using anti-competitive methods to squeeze out British phone software maker Icera. The company also faces a second EU antitrust charge of making illegal payments to a major customer for exclusively using its chipsets since 2011.
Over the years, Qualcomm has been found guilty by courts in China and South Korea for monopolising the industry, and has been slapped with fines amounting to almost $1 billion in each country. The company is also separately engaged in a court battle with Apple, who alleges the licensing terms it negotiated with the chipmaker were unfair.