A recent suit by
mobile phone chips giant Qualcomm shows the debilitating business effects that
can follow from a government antitrust investigation.
The Federal Trade
Commission filed suit in January 2017 against Qualcomm for alleged antitrust
violations, which set off a cascade of litigation against the company, the
world’s largest maker of baseband chips. A suit by Apple quickly followed the
FTC’s complaint, and dozens of civil cases making similar allegations came
after that. As part of its litigation strategy, Apple started withholding
royalties for Qualcomm’s technology, and instructed its iPhone manufacturers to
do the same.