Reuters: Margrethe Vestager just lost a big one

Judges found irregularities in the antitrust chief's analysis of a deal Qualcomm cut with Apple more than a decade ago.

From Foo Yun Chee's "Qualcomm wins fight against $1 bln EU antitrust fine" posted Wednesday:

U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm on Wednesday won its fight against a 997 million euro ($1.05 billion) fine imposed by EU antitrust regulators four years ago, dealing a major setback to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager's crackdown on Big Tech.

The European Commission in its 2018 decision said Qualcomm paid billions of dollars to Apple from 2011 to 2016 to use only its chips in all its iPhones and iPads in order to block out rivals such as Intel Corp (INTC.O)

Qualcomm's fine is one of several imposed by Vestager on companies ranging from Alphabet unit Google to banks and truckmakers over anti-competitive practices. Apple, Amazon and Facebook are being investigated.

"A number of procedural irregularities affected Qualcomm's rights of defence and invalidate the Commission's analysis of the conduct alleged against Qualcomm," judges said.

"The Commission did not provide an analysis which makes it possible to support the findings that the payments concerned had actually reduced Apple’s incentives to switch to Qualcomm's competitors in order to obtain supplies of LTE chipsets for certain iPad models to be launched in 2014 and 2015," they said..

This is the second major defeat for Vestager who in January lost the court's backing for a 1.06 billion euro fine on Intel 12 years ago for squeezing rival Advanced Micro Devices.

My take: Antitrust enforcement ain't easy.

12 Comments

  1. Gary Morton said:
    Vestager is one of the most overreaching regulators on the planet. Good to see her hand slapped by the courts.

    10
    June 15, 2022
    • David Emery said:
      Seems that her lawyers aren’t very good at preparing those legal papers. That does not say much good about Vestager’s management.

      1
      June 15, 2022
    • Dan Scropos said:
      I’d like to buy her for what she knows and sell her for what she thinks she knows.

      1
      June 15, 2022
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Enforcement ain’t easy, especially if the case is deeply flawed.

    ANAL, but Apple actually did buy Intel comms chips, even though they were inferior.

    0
    June 15, 2022
  3. Fred Stein said:
    There’s something much deeper going on.

    Globalization, digital transformation, and capitalism has created giant winners in the US, So. Korea, Taiwan, China in many categories. Other countries benefit from this transformation in countless ways, including all their local innovators that make a lot of money. Vestager wants to reverse history. She swims upstream. It’s summer time. Get an inner tube and float with a local pilsner. VATs, alone, are worth $B’s.

    4
    June 15, 2022
  4. Greg Lippert said:
    Europe has no leader in tech so lets tax and regulate them so they might be able to find a winner through manipulation.

    5
    June 15, 2022
  5. Lalit Jagtap said:
    Hopefully will Vestager will be replaced by EU.

    0
    June 15, 2022
  6. Ken Cheng said:
    “A number of procedural irregularities”

    Procedural irregularities! You mean taking shortcuts in order to get the pre-ordained conclusion. Yep, sounds about right.

    3
    June 15, 2022
  7. Michael Goldfeder said:
    “O Margrethe, Margrethe, wherefore art though Margrethe?” Shakespeare 2.0.

    Probably in her ostentatious office sitting on her King Louis XIV Golden Throne with her head buried in shame on an Alexandre Chevrie French Ormolu Mounted Mahogany Desk paid for on someone else’s BNPL Platform. No doubt Margrethe was expecting multiple bounties from her excessive fines imposed on American “Big Tech” Companies. So far to date I believe she’s hitless, and Joe DiMaggio’s record hitting streak of 56 straight games is no longer in jeopardy. The DiMaggio family are all breathing much easier this morning after reading about another “whiff” by America’s most treasured EU Regulator; Margrethe “Swing and Miss” Vestager.

    While this current Google defeat will no doubt be taken up on appeal to the EU’s Highest Court, just as Vestager did back in September, 2020 with the Ireland/Apple $15 Billion decision that was also shot down by this very same EU “General Court,” her reputation has been tarnished worse than an iron lighthouse in the middle of the “Don Juan Pond.”

    But I’m extremely excited to hear Margrethe’s next press conference so she can tell everyone about all of the “deep flaws” in this Qualcomm legal decision, while simultaneously flailing her arms like a “Raggedy Ann Doll” on Meth. At some point it will become patently obvious to the EU Cabal that appointed this treasure as the “European Commissioner for Competition”, that she’s as out of place as a hothouse orchid at the South Pole.

    But in all fairness to this treasured gem of a Regulator, everyone should be very concerned about her mental health based on an unknown form of “Big Tech Hate” that has left her afflicted with an obvious form of PTSD. Which has concurrently manifested itself into a virulent hatred toward anything and everything “Apple” related in both her decisions and fines imposed. But despite that medical backdrop, when you swim in the ocean, you must learn to navigate the currents. Margrethe ought to “throw in the towel” and seriously consider going back to whatever it was she did before being crowned the: “EU’s Chief Regulator.”

    1
    June 15, 2022
    • Alan Birnbaum said:
      Deputy Prime Minister of Denmark

      Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs of Denmark

      etc

      0
      June 15, 2022
  8. Jonny T said:
    Said it after the big Apple defeat over Ireland that if she had real honour she would have resigned. Bet she doesn’t this time either…

    1
    June 15, 2022
    • David Emery said:
      I suspect Eurocrats are -really hard to fire-…

      0
      June 17, 2022

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