Samsung and Intel pounce on battle weary Qualcomm

Intel and Samsung have decided to pile the pressure onto rival Qualcomm with both parties filing amicus briefs backing the Federal Trade Commission’s complaints against the chip giant.

Back in January, the FTC filed a complaint accusing Qualcomm of using its dominant position in the market to reduce the threat of competition. More specifically, Qualcomm is being accused of elevating fees for its licenses to rival baseband processor makers, thus putting them at a competitive disadvantage. Qualcomm has denied the charges, and filed its own brief to have the case dismissed, though Intel and Samsung’s meddling certainly won’t help matters for the chipmaker.

“Because the FTC’s attempt to shed light on Qualcomm’s anticompetitive practices is of great importance to the industry as a whole, several other companies and trade associations also have filed briefs supporting the FTC,” Intel said on its blog.

“Intel’s brief, in particular, illuminates the adverse impact that Qualcomm’s conduct is having on competition and innovation, and explains how that conduct violates the antitrust laws in several different ways.”

For Intel, it the move might be an attempt to kick one of its biggest competitors while it is down. Intel may have had a tough time trying to capitalize on the mobile market (which Qualcomm dominates), however as the IoT battle warms up, anything which would prove a distraction for competitors certainly works in the favour of Intel.

Samsung is different matter. Yes, it does have its own semiconductor business which competes with Qualcomm, but the mobile unit would be considered a major customer of the company. Considering Apple has already decided to sour the relationship between the two, the last thing Qualcomm needs is another customer kicking up a fuss.

In its own filing, Samsung has said (courtesy of Bloomberg):

“Despite having requested a license from Qualcomm, Samsung cannot sell licensed Exynos chipsets to non-Samsung entities because Qualcomm has refused to license Samsung to make and sell licensed chipsets.”

Essentially, Samsung is claiming its own in-house technology is being held back by Qualcomm because it refuses to license its technology. Samsung is unable to sell the chipsets to any non-Samsung customers currently due to the unwillingness of Qualcomm to co-operate.

It would also be worth noting that Qualcomm has not defended its position yet, so take any Samsung claims with a pinch of salt until it has had a chance to voice its own views on the matter.

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