South Korea's fair trade commission rules that the U.S. chipmaker took advantage of its position as a dominant player, forcing phone makers to pay excessive royalties. Tara Joseph reports.
The heaviest antitrust fine ever laid down in South Korea. U.S. Chipmaker Qualcomm on the receiving end of an 854-million dollar penalty for unfair business practices on Wednesday. "We have decided to issue Qualcomm with a correction order for abusing a monopoly of power," said Shin Young-Son, Secretary General of South Korea's Fair Trade Commission. South Korea's Fair Trade Commission ruling that the company took advantage of its position as a dominant player, forcing phone makers to pay royalties for an excessively broad set of patents. It also broke anti-trust rules by limiting or even refusing to issue standard patents to rival chipmakers like Samsung and Intel. Qualcomm has hit back calling the decision "unprecendented and insupportable", and vowing to appeal. But this is just the latest in a string of antitrust setbacks for the company, which has already been investigated in the U.S., Europe and China. Last year it was fined 975 million dollars by Beijing - in a lengthy probe that threatened the company's growth in the world's biggest mobile market. Beyond the hefty penalty from South Korea, there could be even greater hurdles for Qualcomm going forward. Regulators have also ordered the company to change aspects of the way it does business, And some analysts say that could end up taking an even heavier toll.