By Mauro Orru

 

A European court has scrapped a 997 million-euro ($1.04 billion) antitrust fine that the European Union had given to Qualcomm Inc. for payments it made to Apple Inc. for the device maker's exclusive use of Qualcomm chips.

The Court of Justice of the European Union on Wednesday said the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, had committed a number of irregularities when it was putting together the case-file against the San Diego-based company, a supplier of chips for phones, cars and other devices.

"The General Court observes that a number of procedural irregularities affected Qualcomm's rights of defence and invalidate the Commission's analysis of the conduct alleged against Qualcomm," the court said in a statement.

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager imposed the fine in early 2018, saying Qualcomm had abused its dominant position by paying billions of dollars to Apple from 2011 to 2016 on the condition it wouldn't buy from rivals, hindering competition in the market for so-called baseband chips, which connect smartphones and tablets to cellular networks. The illegal payments were made directly rather than through discounts, the EU said.

Qualcomm said at the time it "strongly disagrees with the decision" and would appeal to the EU's second-highest court.

 

Write to Mauro Orru at mauro.orru@wsj.com; @MauroOrru94

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 15, 2022 06:07 ET (10:07 GMT)

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