Friday, July 26, 2019

Macabre Qualcomm-internal presentation used tombstones to illustrate competitors' exits from mobile chipset market

In a medical context, "to exit" means "to die." That particular meaning of the word appears to have served as inspiration for somebody at Qualcomm who made the macabre design choice to depict the exits of key competitors from the mobile chipset market (Freescale in 2008, ST Ericsson in 2010, Texas Instruments in 2011, Broadcom in 2012, and Nvidia in 2014) as a graveyard at the bottom of a chart with tombstones to the left and right (click on the image to enlarge; this post continues below the image):

The document was highlighted yesterday by MediaTek's amicus curiae brief in support of the FTC's opposition to Qualcomm's motion to stay the enforcement of the FTC's antitrust remedies (this post continues below the document):

19-07-25 MediaTek Amicus Br... by Florian Mueller on Scribd

A MediaTek executive was also a key witness earlier this year in the FTC v. Qualcomm antitrust trial in the Northern District of California. MediaTek, which competes with Qualcomm mostly in the lower-priced market segment, "sells more than 1.5 billion semiconductor chips per year powering cell phones, tablets, voice assistant devices, smart TVs, and media players." Qualcomm's lawyers and expert witnesses sometimes point to the fact that MediaTek succeeded in a certain part of the market in an effort to blame other companies' problems just on their own decisions and execution.

MediaTek's brief focuses on Qualcomm's obligation to extend an exhaustive SEP license on FRAND terms to rival chipset makers. MediaTek argues (and I agree) that it's in the public interest for Qualcomm to begin meeting that obligation sooner rather than later.

The law firm representing MediaTek here is Boies Schiller & Flexner, which also represented Apple against Qualcomm. Boise Schiller's William Isaacson, the American Lawyer Litigator of the Year 2016, was spotted at the FTC v. Qualcomm trial in San Jose in January every single day.

Also yesterday, Qualcomm filed its optional but expected reply brief to the FTC's opposition to the motion to stay enforcement. I've uploaded it to Scribd and will write about it later today, or over the weekend.

A decision to allow various interventions was made a few days ago by the following three Ninth Circuit judges: Judge Mary M. Schroeder, Judge William C. Canby, and Judge Morgan B. Christen. Senior Judges Schroeder and Canby are Carter appointees; Judge Christen was appointed by Barack Obama. At first sight there's no reason to believe that these judges are going to be exceedingly sympathetic to the Trump Administration officials supporting Qualcomm. It wouldn't help Qualcomm either if the panel became aware of any of the various op-eds authored by Qualcomm shills and allies describing FTC v. Qualcomm as "an Obama case."

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