back to article Intel, HP, Tesla, etc protest to US monopoly watchdog: Are you just gonna let Qualcomm patent-tax us to death?

Intel, HP, Tesla and a host of other tech giants have written to America's Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging it to appeal Qualcomm's legal win against the watchdog in a row over patent fees. The FTC had successfully sued Qualcomm, arguing the corporation rode roughshod over antitrust laws, only for that victory to be …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Except

    The FTC was right. The tech companies are right. The arguments are compelling. The court was wrong.

    Except, I fear that the political position of the Orange One will lead to the appeals being dropped.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Re: Except

      Again, your TDS is showing...

      Look, take politics out of it.

      When is FRAND abusive and anti-competitive?

      And that's the thing. Its subjective.

      Suppose I come up with a process to reduce the cost of making a widget 50% cheaper.

      You make widgets and license my tech at $0.50 a widget. Its a reasonable cost if you assume you make 10,000 widgets. But what happens when you make 10 million widgets and you now owe me $$$$ ...

      You could argue that the process should be $0.05.

      So who is right? The original price was based on an estimate that made sense for a lower volume.

      Its not a simple problem to solve.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Except

        The tech, the chips, are intrinsically integrated with the licensing agreements, as the chips physically contain the technology that allows them to function.

        The problem is that Qualcomm, the maker of both the chips and creator of the technology, also owns the patents to the industry-critical functions that the technology enables.

        Therefore, one must question "competition" when the functionality is patented to the major player in the market.

        Ergo, any reasonably logical thinker would question why any large cost is attached to a "licensing agreement" that must be signed prior to being allowed to purchase the chips with the embedded technology, due to the fact that the chips fundamentally represent the physical manifestation of the technology and you must have both in order (tech and silicon) to acquire a functionality at all.

        Qualcomm's licensing agreement is "double dipping" - the licensing agreement should reasonably be an agreement guaranteeing IP, not charging you just to even handle the tech as that's is what you are paying for when you purchase the chips in the first place.

        It's a payola scam: pay us, essentially, to agree to deal with us. Then pay us again for the actual products that you wish to purchase.

        The appeals court was wrong in their re-assessment.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Except

          It may not be double dipping.

          It could be a license agreement to handle the tech, and then a variable component based on the number of units shipped using the tech.

          Let me give you a different example of 'hyper-competitiveness'.

          You have a storefront on Amazon and use them to fulfill your orders. (Or not.)

          Amazon has the data of all transactions. So if you sell a widget and there are several other sellers of the same widget, Amazon can see who is selling what widgets and their sales prices. Now Amazon wants to get into the widget game. They too become a seller of widgets. Since they order the companies based on price... and they know all of the prices, they can do dynamic pricing so to undercut you and others capturing a percentage of the market. They are at an advantage because they can offer dynamic pricing since they own the storefront platform.

          Unfair? Sure. They see what sells on the platform... then starts to sell capturing a low risk profit because you and the other widget sellers are doing all of the marketing for them.

          Now some would call that illegal and call for Amazon to be broken up.

          Others will call it hyper competitive and say that if you don't like it... go somewhere else.

          Or put up with it.

          Which camp do you fall in?

  2. FILE_ID.DIZ
    Boffin

    Eudora!!!1!

    I am torn on the issue.

    Once just little company that used to make an email client that I loved, and software and hardware to track commercial trucks.... now has an expansive empire based on communications, in so many different forms and modes.

    I can't recall why I soured on Eudora. It was a long time ago.

  3. Ashto5

    Find other chips

    Start the process of finding other chips

    If all of those major players clubbed together then you could have a new manufacture in 2 or 3 years

    It will take that time to go thru the legal process

    Just get it done

  4. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

    Interesting outcome for 5G

    Just imagine that a Chinese company holding SEP decides that they can't be used in the USA, based on this judgement...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    U$A

    $$$ talking

    blah blah blah

    Hypocrisy Narcissism

    Bump

  6. cd

    If those companies paid taxes and employed more people in their own country, they'd sound less conflicted.

  7. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Really expensive - NOT

    There was a previous article (on CNET) that said that Apple was paying $7.50 per iPhone for Qualcomm modems - ie a royalty rate of under 1% (on a device with a 40% net profit margin).

    If Qualcomm was charging the rate that Apple charges in its app store - 30% - then the complainers might have a reasonable case but at under 1% it is hardly an exorbitant rate, (It is far less than Apple wanted for rounded corners!!!)

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