Qualcomm back-handers responsible for 3 lost generations of WM devices

image Qualcomm has just been fined a massive $209 million after it was found guilty of anti-competitive measures. The Korea Fair Trade Commission ordered the  company to stop charging higher royalties to customers who buy chips from rivals and to cease offering rebates to handset makers who purchase products mainly from Qualcomm.

This differential pricing gave incentives to companies to remain exclusive to Qualcomm, to the disadvantage of chip companies with more competitive hardware like Marvell with its XScale family.

Qualcomm’s MSM7200 chipset and its descendants have been widely blamed for sluggish performance, and with HTC producing most Windows Mobile phones, the OS itself has suffered by association. Yet even on the HTC Hero the chipset is felt primarily to blame for the device’s stuttering performance.

Its difficult not to ask what may have been, if the last 3 generations of devices ran on speedy 800 Mhz XScale processors, whether Windows Mobile may be in a better position than it is now.

In my opinion however, for the damage done to Windows Mobile’s reputation, Qualcomm deserves every cent of that fine.

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