Enterprise

Qualcomm found guilty of unfair pricing

Ordered to pay hundreds of millions of euros

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For a while now, Qualcomm has waged a legal war against Apple over ambiguous copyright claims. The battle emboldened the chipmaker, leading to quirkier means to keep competitors at bay. To its credit, Qualcomm successfully squeezed out substantial money from its battles. However, karma can come in unexpected forms.

Recently, Qualcomm found itself on the receiving end of a similar legal strife. The European Commission has ruled the company guilty of unfair pricing schemes.

From 2009 to 2011, Qualcomm became a market leader in the 3G modem business. The win practically ensured the company’s dominance in future eras. At the time, Qualcomm’s only major competitor was fellow 3G chipset manufacturer, Nvidia’s Icera.

According to the EU Commission, Qualcomm used antitrust pricing to ensure its win against Icera. Particularly, Qualcomm’s prices were way below cost, drawing more competition towards them. Then-growing companies Huawei and ZTE bought into Qualcomm’s cheaper chips. Icera would eventually fold in 2015.

Of course, cheaper pricing schemes aren’t illegal outright. However, Qualcomm purposely set its prices below the cost to produce them — which is illegal. In effect, they were selling at a loss to block out the competition. Qualcomm’s current dominance draws from its past practices.

Because of the unfair practice, the Commission is fining the company a hefty EUR 242 million. The huge amount totals to 1.27 percent of Qualcomm’s 2018 revenue.

Despite the weight, the fine is only a drop in Qualcomm’s huge bucket. At the very least, the ruling is a warning against unfair business practices. Qualcomm isn’t immune to the same strategies that it employs against its competitors.

SEE ALSO: Qualcomm drops all charges against Apple

Enterprise

Acer launches 3 new TravelMate laptops for enterprise use

Comes with military-grade design

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Alongside a host of upgrades to its existing lineup, Acer announced three new laptops in the TravelMate series. TravelMate laptops are not available for retail purchase and can only be purchased by businesses or enterprises via the commercial channel.

Hence, these laptops are designed to keep purely work in mind and are supposed to be power houses. This includes TravelMate Spin P4, a convertible touchscreen notebook; TravelMate P4, a powerful machine with a traditional build; and TravelMate P2, a durable notebook with tonnes of ports.

The laptops are powered by 11th Gen Intel processor and Iris X graphics or NVIDIA GeForce MX350 dedicated GPU. They can sport up to 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and longer battery life. Acer claims the Spin P4 and P4 can last up to 15 hours on a single charge while the P2 clocks in 13. The former duo takes just an hour to charge the battery by 80 percent.

Being the fancier laptop, the Spin P4 gets Gorilla Glass protection and 360 hinge convertible design. The Spin P4 also gets MIL-STD-810G certification, which means it can endure rugged usage. The keyboard is spill proof and the corners are shock absorbent.

The Spin P4 and P4 are light weight and weigh around 1.5kg. The P2 is slightly heavy at 1.6kg. All three laptops support WiFi 6 and 4G LTE compatibility via an eSIM. On the port section, a Thunderbolt 4 port is included along with the standard selection of USB-C, USB 3.0, and more.

Lastly, the laptops are secured by the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 with an anti-tampering chip. Additionally, it has support for Windows Hello, built-in webcam covers, and a fingerprint reader for authentication.

Pricing and Availability

The TravelMate P2 (TMP214-53) will be available in North America in March 2021 starting at US$ 799.99; in EMEA in November starting at 759 EUR ; and in China in October, starting at CNY 4,999.

The TravelMate P4 (TMP414-51) will be available in North America in December starting at US$ 899.99; in EMEA in November starting at 899 EUR ; and in China in October, starting at CNY 5,999.

The TravelMate Spin P4 (TMP414RN-51) will be available in North America in December starting at USD 999.99; in EMEA in November starting at 999 EUR ; and in China in October, starting at CNY 6,999.

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Enterprise

Indian telco Jio and Qualcomm successfully test 5G

Sidelining the Chinese

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In a major breakthrough for the Indian telecom industry, equipment maker Qualcomm and Indian telco Jio have announced a partnership to deploy 5G solution in the country. The two announced their network will be based on indigenous technology, indirectly shunning Chinese contenders like Huawei.

Backed by India’s top conglomerate Reliance, Jio has gained a massive share in one of the world’s most crucail telecom markets. The telco aims to deploy high-speed 5G that can offer speeds up to 1 Gbps.

Jio acquired Radisys in 2018 and the company is expected to play a critical role in developing the company’s 5G solutions. When combined with Qualcomm’s gear, the partnership can scale 5G networks throughout the country without depending on foreign tech stacks. Adding to this, Jio has also said it’s considering options of selling its in-house technology to other carries for a seamless transition.

“This achievement not only supports Jio’s 5G credentials, but also signifies the entry of Jio and India into the Gigabit 5G NR product portfolio,” the two companies said in a statement.

The company is leveraging NR or New Radio technology that is similar to 4G’s LTE. It’s a globally accepted standard and many phone makers have already announced support.

At present, only a few countries are capable of offering 1 Gbps speeds and this includes the US, South Korea, Australia, Germany and Switzerland. 5G is expected to launch in India soon, although these claims are countered by critics for being too optimistic.

India’s mobile telecom industry has only three players left and Jio is considered the mightiest. It raised tens of billions from marquee investors like Facebook, Google, and Qualcomm. However, established players like Vodafone-Idea were on the verge of bankruptcy and Airtel has managed to find solid ground only recently.

Read Also: This Indian telco has raised more than $20 billion during the pandemic

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Enterprise

Sweden is officially banning Huawei and ZTE

Must rid of brand by 2025

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For years, the American government has waged a lopsided war against Huawei and its 5G infrastructure. However, amidst the country’s Sinophobic sentiments, only two other countries have more reason to ban the Chinese company from its soil — Sweden and Finland. Finally, the situation has changed. Sweden is officially banning Huawei and ZTE.

Why does a Sweden ban make the most sense? Well, the country owns one of Huawei’s biggest competitors in the 5G industry, Ericsson. Meanwhile, the neighboring Finland owns the other biggest 5G rival, Nokia.

Now, the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority has announced the ban for any Huawei- or ZTE-based architecture for the country’s 5G industry. Any networks must divest from the banned brands before 2025. Currently, four networks — without the Chinese companies — are bidding for the privilege of building Sweden’s 5G networks.

With the ban, Sweden is joining the United Kingdom in banning the Chinese companies from future architecture. In other parts of the world, Nokia and Ericsson have already taken over from Huawei and ZTE. Of course, the smartphone industry is already rushing to build 5G-compatible smartphones. Most of 2020’s smartphones tout the compatibility even without stable 5G networks.

Outside of the 5G realm, Huawei is also experiencing a lot of crunch from smartphone component companies pulling their business from the Chinese company.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 12’s 5G feature is useless for most users, analysts say

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