Qualcomm hit with $850M fine in South Korea antitrust probe

From CNET: Qualcomm faces the largest antitrust fine in South Korean history, following a nearly three-year investigation from the South Korean Fair Trade Commission.

The commission accused the chipset makers of having an "unfair business model" and creating a monopoly with its practices. It fined Qualcomm more than 1 trillion won, or about $850 million.

Qualcomm plans to fight the fine, arguing that it had been following licensing practices that have existed in Korea and worldwide for decades. The company said its business model promotes competition and called the massive fine unreasonable.

"Qualcomm strongly believes that the KFTC findings are inconsistent with the facts, disregard the economic realities of the marketplace, and misapply fundamental tenets of competition law," Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm's general counsel said in a statement.

In its report, the KFTC pointed to Qualcomm's dominance of LTE chipsets, more than doubling from 34% in 2010 to 69% in five years, and the company's refusal to provide patent licensing to competing chipset companies.

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