The Korea Fair Trade Commission isn’t afraid to throw down the hammer when necessary (Samsung SDI became one of its victims during the Samsung C&T-Cheil Industries merger back in September) against those who seek unfair and unethical practices in business. According to the antitrust watchdog, Qualcomm has been found guilty of collecting 1 trillion won (around $825 million USD) in dishonest profit from both Samsung and its fellow South Korean rival, LG, each year.
The events surrounding this FTC ruling have to do with patents that the Commission says are unnecessary and have been charged based on smartphone prices instead of standard patent pricing. Qualcomm has also been found guilty of not licensing its modem chip patents in order to restrict its competition each year. The FTC made its decision after interviewing companies such as Intel, Nvidia, Apple, and even Samsung and LG regarding their agreements with Qualcomm.
While Samsung and rival LG will save 1 trillion won annually, there won’t be a drop in smartphone prices as a result. But, the FTC has shown that it isn’t afraid to make companies pay when their practices are called into question. We don’t know how this will impact Samsung and its relationship with Qualcomm (or whether this will have a direct bearing on the Snapdragon 835 SoC that’s headed to market for the Galaxy S8), but, as “a penny saved is a penny earned,” the same can be said for 1 trillion won.