Law360 (March 21, 2019, 6:32 PM EDT) — South Korea’s competition enforcer on Thursday reduced by around $40 million a fine it slapped on Qualcomm a decade ago for allegedly abusing its dominance by offering rebates to manufacturers for patent…
Qualcomm Incorporated (QCOM – Free Report) recently received two symmetrically opposite court verdicts – one from a U.S. federal judge and other from the Japan Fair Trade Commission. While the domestic verdict was against the company, the international ruling was in favor, evoking mixed response from management.
The preliminary ruling by Judge Gonzalo Curiel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California relates to non-payment of patent royalty rebate to the tune of $1 billion to Apple Inc. (AAPL – Free Report) . In its lawsuit filed two years ago, Apple alleged that Qualcomm violated its payment obligations per the 2013 Business Cooperation and Patent Agreement. The contract mandated Qualcomm to pay rebate on the iPhone patent payments if Apple abstained from attacking its trade policies in court or with regulators.
In reply, Qualcomm accused Apple of violating the agreement by encouraging other smartphone manufacturers to complain against it and fanning false propaganda to regulators relating to its trade policies. This allegedly compelled the Korean Fair Trade Commission to investigate the antitrust charges, due to which Qualcomm refused to make any further rebate payments. Eventually, the billions of dollars that Qualcomm received from contract factories that manufactured Apple’s iPhone for using its patented technology also dried up as the two were involved in a bitter patent battle.
In view of these circumstances, Judge Curiel observed that Qualcomm was at fault and was obligated to pay $1 billion in rebate payments to Apple. The decision, however, is not final until the trial proceedings are over, starting from next month. Moreover, as Qualcomm reportedly owed more than $1 billion from contract factories that manufactured iPhones, the purported payments were likely to be offset.
Meanwhile, Qualcomm had something to cheer about when the Japan Fair Trade Commission revoked its own 2009 cease-and-desist order pertaining to its licensed products in the country. Although the Tokyo High Court had issued a stay in 2010 against the order, thorough investigations and nine-year evidentiary proceedings involving 37 separate hearings inferred that Qualcomm’s cross-licensing provisions did not violate Japanese antimonopoly law.
This is reportedly the second such favorable verdict from antitrust regulators after the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission, and is likely to boost Qualcomm’s case against Apple. Moreover, that the cross-licensing program was deemed to be lawful by the regulators would strengthen its argument against the iPhone manufacturer.
The stock has declined 7.5% on average in the past year while the industry rallied 2%.
Qualcomm currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the industry include Harris Corporation (HRS – Free Report) and Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI – Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Harris has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 8%. It delivered average positive earnings surprise of 2.9% in the trailing four quarters, beating estimates in each.
Motorola has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 8%. It delivered average positive earnings surprise of 13.2% in the trailing four quarters, beating estimates on each occasion.
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The impetus in Union Budget 2019 on strengthening the digital infrastructure, e-marketplace, initiatives supporting rural India and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, government has reiterated its commitment to bring a holistic and sustainable technology-led development for the country, said Nikhil Arora, Managing Director and Vice President, GoDaddy India.
“We welcome the Union Interim budget 2019-20 and the government’s focus towards helping small businesses, startups and women-owned MSMEs. With impetus on strengthening the digital infrastructure, e-marketplace, initiatives supporting rural India and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, government has reiterated its commitment to bring a holistic and sustainable technology-led development for the country,” he said.
On popular measures like rebate in tax, Arora said, “Moves to allow tax payers with income upto Rs. 5 lakh to get full tax rebate and abolish custom duty from 36 capital good are consumer friendly steps that will help put the money back in the consumers’ pocket and encourage ease of doing business.”
Sharing his views on a challenge of availability of the credit to MSMEs, Arora said, “In this year’s budget, we were hoping for a solution for the current credit issue troubling MSMEs. But at the same time, we are positive about the India government’s push towards digitally transforming the nation, and will continue working with our partners to ensure we play our part in realizing this vision, providing right tools and solutions to enable small and independent businesses to get their ventures online and grow successfully.”News, Follow us on Twitterand Facebook
Ripple recently announced a new accelerator program for commercial and enterprise companies that are willing to join RippleNet. The rewards, funded by the $300 Million in XRP from Ripple’s holdings, will be based on volume rebates and an adoption marketing incentive.
The volume rebates
Quite an interesting concept, the Volume Rebate will provide license and integration-fee rebates to RippleNet members as and when they reach integration and volume milestones within certain deadlines. These rebates depend on the volume processed and could cover anywhere between 50 to 300 percent of the integration fees and first year’s license fees.
Aimed at accelerating the adoption and usage of Ripple solutions, the rebate will be available in XRP or USD. The team further adds that the customers willing to receive XRP for the rebate will have selling restrictions. Such a restriction is quite profitable in the long run as it will prevent the market numbers from going wild.
A similar strategy was employed by PayPal for promoting their early day adoption and referral bonuses. Referral method has proven to attract more users onto the platform. Since the incentive is in XRP, the network is anticipating an added benefit of building an easy on-ramp for institutions to use XRP in their payment flows to lower liquidity cost in the future.
The test phase of XRP incentives has received a very positive early reception, as stated by Ripple.
Adoption marketing incentive
This program will match the marketing costs for eligible customers who promote Ripple solutions to their customers. In order to assist with the marketing efforts, Ripple will avail tailored marketing content, messaging frameworks and tools that will reduce their customer’s total costs.
The incentive is based upon a first-come, first served basis and can be earned through XRP or USD. The selling restriction pertaining to XRP applies here as well. Notably, Paypal was really popular in its early days for such programmes and it did boost their initial growth.
Not alone in such plans, Ripple might be reportedly joined by other evolving networks such as TRON and EOS, very soon.
The idea of expressing one’s views and reviews through words is beyond intriguing. What started as a creative let out has now become a passion and a profession for Arshmeet K Hora. In her own words ” with every word, every article that I write, my passion towards this medium has grown stronger.” Arshmeet covers latest crypto news and updates as well as what happening new revolving around Blockchain Technology.
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FILE PHOTO: A woman checks her phone at a flagship Apple store at Iconsiam shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
January 12, 2019
By Stephen Nellis
SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) – Qualcomm sought to become the sole supplier of modem chips for Apple’s iPhone to recoup a $1-billion “incentive payment” that Apple insisted on, not to block rivals from the market, Qualcomm’s chief executive testified on Friday.
The payment from Qualcomm to Apple – part of a 2011 deal between Apple and Qualcomm – was meant to ease the technical costs of swapping out the iPhone’s then-current Infineon chip with Qualcomm’s, CEO Steve Mollenkopf testified at a trial with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
While such a payment is common in the industry, the size of it was not, Mollenkopf said.
Under the 2011 deal, Qualcomm was named Apple’s sole supplier of modem chips, which help mobile phones connect to wireless data networks, in exchange for which Qualcomm agreed to give Apple a rebate – the exact nature of which has not been disclosed. Apple could choose another supplier but it would lose the rebate, effectively increasing the cost of its chips.
Antitrust regulators have argued the deal with Apple was part of a pattern of anticompetitive conduct by Qualcomm to preserve its dominance in modem chips and exclude players like Intel.
At a federal courthouse in San Jose, California, Mollenkopf testified that Apple demanded the $1 billion without any assurance of how many chips it would buy, which pushed the chip supplier to pursue an exclusivity arrangement in order to ensure it sold enough chips to recover the payment.
Qualcomm was not aiming to block rivals like Intel, he said.
“The risk was, what would the volume be? Would we get everything we wanted, given that we paid so much in incentive?” Mollenkopf testified.
Earlier in the day, Apple supply chain executive Tony Blevins testified that it was Apple’s practice to pursue at least two suppliers and as many as six for each of the more than 1,000 components in the iPhone.
The company stopped trying to place an Intel modem chip in the iPad Mini 2 because losing the rebates on Qualcomm’s chips would have made the overall cost too high, he said.
“They made it very unattractive for us to use another chip supplier,” Blevins said of the rebates. “These rebates were very, very large.”
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Sandra Maler and Sonya Hepinstall)