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Korea Fair Trade Commission Fines Qualcomm $200 Million

Following a three-year investigation, the Korea Fair Trade Commission has fined Qualcomm approximately US$200 million, the chip maker said.

The commission ruled that certain discounts and rebates that Qualcomm offers Korean customers violate Korean competition law, Qualcomm said. The order requires Qualcomm to stop the practice and pay the administrative fine.

The agency will release details about how it came up with the $200 million figure when it issues its written decision, potentially in several months, Qualcomm said. The company plans to appeal the ruling in Korean courts.

The trade commission found there was insufficient evidence to rule against Qualcomm on an issue related to multimedia integration and rejected charges against Qualcomm related to conduct regarding WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access).

The investigation into Qualcomm began in 2006 when officials from the trade commission visited the chip maker's offices and those of three of its customers to look into the company's business practices. In November 2008, Qualcomm noted in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that Texas Instruments, Broadcom and two South Korean chip makers had filed complaints with the trade commission charging Qualcomm with violating Korean antitrust regulations.

Regulators in Japan and the European Union have also launched investigations into Qualcomm's business practices.

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