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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Qualcomm legal action moves forward in the UK

Which? seeks payout for Samsung and Apple smartphone owners

Consumer protection organisation Which? has been given permission by the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal to represent Apple and Samsung smartphone buyers in a legal case against chip manufacturer Qualcomm.

Which? started its legal case in February last year, claiming that Qualcomm had breached competition law by charging Apple and Samsung inflated fees to use its technology, which led to higher prices for consumers.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal has allowed the claim to proceed to trial and has agreed that Which? is an appropriate representative for the millions of consumers allegedly affected in the UK.

According to Which?, which has set up a dedicated claim website at smartphoneclaim.co.uk, winning the case could result in a payment of around £16 for an average UK consumer who bought a Samsung or Apple smartphone since October 2015.

Anabel Hoult, Chief Executive of Which?, said "We’re delighted to have secured this great result for consumers, bringing them a step closer to the nearly £500 million that we believe they are owed by Qualcomm. 'If Qualcomm has abused its market power it must be held to account. This judgement ensures that it can be. Which? brought this claim on behalf of millions of affected UK consumers, as it would not have been realistic for people to seek damages from the company on an individual basis."

Which? has also published a response from Qualcomm: "We disagree with today’s ruling, though it is strictly procedural and in no way supportive of the plaintiff’s meritless assertions. The claims here recycle allegations in an old case brought by the Federal Trade Commission in the US, which Qualcomm won. The theories seen here were discredited two years ago by a unanimous panel of judges at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the US."
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Opinion Articles

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Mark Bridge writes:

A few months ago I was at the launch of DataWind’s UbiSurfer netbook, a device that includes 12 months of internet access with the surprisingly low purchase price. A light-hearted presentation compared the UbiSurfer's web access with the Apple iPhone’s “there’s an app for that” TV campaign – and reminded us that many popular web-based iPhone apps cost money whilst web pages were free to access. Pay for a currency converter – or access one online for nothing. Pay for a train timetable application – or go to the mobile web for free.

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Will the Microsoft geeks use it?

James Rosewell writes:

Whilst the mainstream press were busy covering the marketing launch of Windows Mobile 6.5 or 'Windows Phone' as it’ll now be known, I spent some time with the geeks looking under the hood at Microsoft’s new desktop (Windows 7) and server (Server 2008 R2) operating systems. The event was packed full of IT professionals whose jobs and careers are heavily involved with Microsoft. They were there to learn about the latest products ready for deploying them within their organisations. These are the people that keep e-mail systems working, decide what applications you’ll be using at work, choose the technology that companies use on the web and increasingly steer corporate mobile strategy.

So what mobile phones were these people using?

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Dubious surveys don't help anyone

Mark Bridge writes:

Last week in one of my opinion pieces I had a bit of a go at a mobile phone price comparison website. I'd only just forgiven them when I saw another survey from another mobile phone price comparison website. This one said shopping for a mobile phone at a price comparison website could be up to 40% cheaper than visiting the high street. And then I took a closer look...

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Termination rates are already falling - so why all the fuss?

Mark Bridge writes:

With over 100,000 people having signed its petition in four months, there’s no denying that the Terminate The Rate campaign is attracting supporters. And with promises including “BT and 3 are working together on a petition that will lower your phone bill by reducing the level of Mobile Termination Rates”, it’s easy to see why.

But what’s the point of all the campaigning - and has it really achieved anything?  Terminate The Rate says mobile networks charge a Mobile Termination Rate of around 4.7p per minute for connecting a call to another network. That’s a lot of money over the course of a year. But those networks also pay that 4.7p when calls are connected to them, which cancels out a fair bit of it.

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From Vizzavi to Vodafone 360

Mark Bridge writes:

Earlier this week Vodafone announced Vodafone 360 under the headline “Bringing your world together”. It all sounds very promising – and it reminded me of another Vodafone launch nine years before. It was September 2000 when Vizzavi appeared in the UK...

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