MarketWatch First Take: Qualcomm licensing business, Apple deal attacked in FTC’s antitrust lawsuit

An antitrust lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission against Qualcomm Inc. puts a dark cloud over a chip company that had managed to battle back from a steep stock drop.

Qualcomm QCOM, -4.02% derives the bulk of its profits from licensing its technology, but that business has been under attack by regulators off and on for more than 10 years. In 2015, a whopping $975 million fine and royalty rate cut in China emboldened regulators world-wide. In December, South Korea fined Qualcomm $853 million for antitrust violations, saying that it used its position as a key chip supplier as a tool to convince mobile phone makers to agree to unfair terms.

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