Reuters reports that the EU has decided not to appeal the court’s ruling in favor of U.S. chip manufacturer, Qualcomm which was slapped with a $991 million fine by the European watchdog over alleged billions of bribes to Apple.
Qualcomm supplies LTE and 5G chips to the iPhone maker and in 2018, the EU imposed a $997 million euro ($991 million) fine on the manufacturer after finding that it violated anti-competitive laws by billions of dollars to Apple in bribes to secure an exclusive deal to be supply chips for iPhone and iPad from 2011 to 2016.
The manufacturer appealed the EU’s ruling in the General Court and in June this year, the second-highest court in Europe overturned the previous verdict. The court found that there were several procedural discrepancies in the handling of the case by the EU and the watchdog failed to prove that Qualcomm’s payments to Apple influenced the Cupertino tech giant’s decision to award the contract to the chipmaker.
There were slim chances for the EU to win an appeal against Qualcomm over alleged billion of payments to Apple
According to the report, EU Commission could have appealed to the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) on points of law but since it would have been very difficult for the EU Commission to win its appeal on both accounts, the watchdog has decided not to appeal said people familiar with the matter.
Peter Alexiadis, visiting professor at King’s College in London said that the EU’s decision is not a surprise because it would have lost on procedural grounds.
“Even if the Commission were to succeed on the substantive grounds of appeal, such a victory would be nothing more than Pyrrhic, given the fact that the Commission decision would nevertheless inevitably be annulled on the procedural grounds, where the Commission’s case seems to be weak,” he said.
Furthermore, this decision is considered a setback for the EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager who is known for going after four big tech giants with full throttle.
The judgment was a major setback for EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, who has handed out billion-euro fines to Alphabet (GOOGL.O) unit Google and opened investigations into Amazon (AMZN.O), Apple and Facebook owner Meta (META.O) as part of her crackdown on Big Tech.
EU has sent a “Letter of Fact” to Apple over Spotify’s complaint against the tech giant, and the authority has passed the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act to regulate the anti-competitive growth of Big Tech firms such as Apple, Meta, and Google.