Tech giant fined £872m over illegal Apple payments

Smartphone chip manufacturer Qualcomm has been fined £872m (€997m) for paying Apple to turn down offers from rivals.

The fine, which represents almost 5% of the technology company's revenue over the last year, was announced by European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager on Wednesday.

She said the company's deal with Apple in 2011 saw it promise to pay billions of US dollors on the condition the iPhone maker exclusively used components that it manufactured, rather than those developed by others.

"This meant that no rival could effectively challenge Qualcomm in this market, no matter how good their products were," Ms Vestager said.

There was no evidence of Apple bearing any responsibility for the deal, she told reporters in Brussels.

:: Apple devices hit by Intel chip flaw

Image:Apple was only able to use Intel chips after its Qualcomm deal expired

Apple wanted to move from Qualcomm chips to those manufactured by Intel, but it would have cost so much money that it could not do so until the Qualcomm deal expired in 2016, Ms Vestager said.

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"The outcome is that rivals are prevented from challenging dominant companies with more innovative products," she said.

Qualcomm's fine comes as it attempts toturn down a takeover by rival company Broadcom, valued at $105bn, and is fighting Apple in courtrooms around the world on patent licensing issues.

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