Qualcomm asked the European Commission (EC) to reduce or remove an antitrust fine levied on it earlier this year over its dealings with Apple, citing errors with the original decision.

The company’s legal challenge, first launched in April, was revealed yesterday (4 June) in the EU’s Official Journal, in which Qualcomm outlined why it was taking issue with the ruling.

Qualcomm was hit with the $1.2 billion fine in January after the EC found the company had paid Apple to use its chips exclusively in iPhones and iPads, a move which regulators said was an abuse of its dominant position.

In its appeal, Qualcomm argued the decision should not stand because the EC wrongly applied its own rules on how they set the fine. The EC said at the time the amount represented 4.9 per cent of Qualcomm’s annual turnover in 2017.

Qualcomm also said the EC was wrong to find its agreements with Apple harmed competition, while stating regulators had also distorted evidence by dismissing its defence as some of its actions could be justified by efficiency.

Shut out rivals
In a statement revealing the fine in January, EC Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Qualcomm had “illegally shut out rivals from LTE baseband chipsets for over five years, thereby cementing its market dominance”.

Qualcomm was accused of making billions of dollars worth of payments to Apple between 2011 and 2016 to keep the deal exclusive, in a move which effectively blocked competitors such as Intel.

Reuters reported it could take a judge “several years” to rule on such appeal cases.