Qualcomm Inc. signage is displayed outside the company’s offices in La Jolla, California, U.S. (Photographer: Konrad Fiedler/Bloomberg)

Qualcomm Dealt Another Setback Ahead of FTC Antitrust Trial

(Bloomberg) -- Qualcomm Inc. can’t dodge a U.S. regulator’s claims that it acted as a monopolist in the mobile phone chip market by pointing out that Apple Inc. switched to Intel Corp. as its main supplier of modem chips, a judge said.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, is the second significant ruling against Qualcomm in five weeks ahead of a trial set for January over the Federal Trade Commission’s claims that the San Diego-based chipmaker abused a monopoly and raised costs for consumers. In November, Koh ruled that Qualcomm must provide its competitors with access to its patent licenses, should they request it.

The evidence about Apple and Intel doesn’t show “a change in Qualcomm’s own business conduct," Koh wrote. “All of the proposed evidence relates to alleged shifts in Qualcomm’s market power.”

Qualcomm spokeswoman Clare Conley declined to comment on Koh’s order.

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