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[Slashdot] - Qualcomm Makes Case To Appeals Court That It Didn't Hurt Competition

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Qualcomm is making the case for why it didn't hurt competition in the smartphone chip business. "The company, represented by attorney Thomas Goldstein of the firm Goldstein & Russell, on Thursday appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in downtown San Francisco," reports CNET. "Qualcomm is hoping the appeals court will overturn a ruling by a district court judge that declared it to be a monopoly and ordered it to renegotiate its licensing contracts." From the report: Qualcomm during the hearing didn't dispute that it has a monopoly in 3G and 4G LTE chips. But it maintains that it didn't wield that power to harm competition. "What has gone wrong in the competitive process?" Goldstein said. "The answer is nothing." He noted that Qualcomm's business practices could be an issue of contract violations but not an antitrust issue. The US Federal Trade Commission, meanwhile, tried to make it clear how Qualcomm's "no license, no chip" policy undercut rivals and caused handset makers to shift business to Qualcomm. Brian Fletcher, an attorney who teaches at Stanford University, spoke for the FTC. He said Qualcomm is making it harder for competitors not because its policies have meant lower chip prices but "because it's demanding customers pay Qualcomm even when they decide to buy from rival suppliers." The hearing is the latest twist in a legal saga that began three years ago when the FTC accused Qualcomm of operating a monopoly and forcing Apple and other customers to work with it exclusively. The FTC also accused the company of charging excessive licensing fees for its technology. As part of the district court's ruling, Qualcomm must submit compliance and monitoring reports for the next seven years and report to the FTC annually. Thursday's hearing marks Qualcomm's attempt to have that ruling overturned. The three appeals court judges likely won't make a decision for three months to over a year as they weigh the evidence.

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