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Korea Raps Qualcomm on the Knuckles, Fines It $208M

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[qi:105] South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) on Thursday fined Qualcomm (s QCOM) $208 million for anti-competitive behavior, putting an end to a 3-year investigation against the CDMA powerhouse. While the KFTC decided in favor of Qualcomm on two issues — multimedia integration and WCDMA — the commission said that the company was offering certain discounts to Korean handset manufacturers if they bought its modem chips. It was also charging higher royalties on its CDMA chips from its competitors. All that represented anti-competitive behavior, the KFTC said. Qualcomm had about 99.4 percent share of the Korean market in 2008. The San Diego-based chip giant is being investigated by the European Commission for anti-competitive behavior as well.

Qualcomm, which said in a press release this morning that it wants more details about how the fine was calculated, disagreed with the KFTC’s decision. It said it will fight both the fine and the ruling. Korea is home to two of the largest handset makers, LG and Samsung, both of which make CDMA phones for a variety of carriers. Qualcomm says its close strategic relationship with LG and Samsung helped them become major players in the handset business.