South Korean antitrust regulator KFTC lowers decade old fine on Qualcomm to $200 million

The cut in the fine comes in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling. The Korea Fair Trade Commission has made it clear that it will not tolerate a “monopolist enterprise’s abuse of its market position …”

On Thursday, South Korea’s antitrust regulator the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said, it has lowered a decade-old penalty imposed on U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc by 18% to $200 million.

The development comes in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling in January 2019 which overturned one of several lower court rulings against Qualcomm Inc for for abusing its dominant market position.

In 2009, the KFTC had imposed a fine of $242.6 million (273 billion won) on Qualcomm saying it is abusing its dominant market position in CDMA modem and radio frequency chips; at that time these chips were used in Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s and LG Electronics Inc’s handsets.

In a statement, the KFTC said, it had reset the penalty to reflect the Supreme Court’s ruling, and added, a “monopolist enterprise’s abuse of its market position cannot be tolerated”.

The fine is the latest in a series of antitrust rulings and investigations that is Qualcomm is facing from regulators across the globe.

Qualcomm declined to comment.

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