April 17, 2021

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UK’s Consumer Watchdog ‘Which?’ Submits Anti-Competition Claim Against Qualcomm

2 min read
  • ‘Which?’ is launching a legal fight against Qualcomm, demanding compensation of £480 million.
  • The British consumer protection agency believes that Qualcomm artificially inflated smartphone prices.
  • Qualcomm disregards the validity of the claims and points to recent decisions on the same issue.

‘Which?’ has decided to submit an anti-competition claim against Qualcomm, accusing the American chipmaker of inflating smartphone prices and leaving Britons with no other choices in the market. The claim which was filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal requests reimbursement of £480 million.

This corresponds to a £5 to £30 (depending on the model) compensation for each person that bought Apple and Samsung smartphones since October 1, 2015. If you think you could be a part of this, go ahead and register yourself on the lawsuit’s dedicated portal.

Qualcomm provided 4G modem solutions to the two smartphone makers, and “Which?” believes that the Americans abused their dominant position to sell these specialized chips for way more than they should. In addition to that, Qualcomm is accused of refusing to license its patents, keeping the production limited, and artificially raising the modems’ cost.

UK’s Consumer Watchdog ‘Which?’ Submits Anti-Competition Claim Against Qualcomm
Source: which.co.uk

The second thing that Qualcomm is accused of is the fact that it refuses to supply chipsets to smartphone manufacturers unless they obtain a separate license and pay inflated royalties. This additional cost is being passed to the consumer, and so around 30 million individuals are now eligible to get some money back.

Qualcomm has responded to this legal action by calling the case baseless and providing the following statement on BBC: “As the plaintiffs are well aware, their claims were effectively put to rest last summer by a unanimous panel of judges at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the United States.”

Of course, this is not the first time that Qualcomm finds itself in the anti-competition cyclone. It’s been fighting that war with Apple for years, faced similar allegations and a €1 billion fine in 2018 by the European Commission. In 2017, it was sued by the FTC in the United States over unfair practices concerning technology licensing procedures. The company never admitted doing anything wrong, and in some cases, it managed to reach favorable verdicts.

We can’t tell what the result will be this time, but if you’re in the UK and you’re holding the purchase receipt for a Samsung or Apple phone with a Qualcomm modem inside it, you’re not losing anything by registering yourself. “Which?” wants to send a message to big tech firms like Qualcomm, and whether or not they’ll manage to have their request approved in court is almost irrelevant.

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