FTC v. Qualcomm – The Big Tech Antitrust Case Nobody’s Talking About
Charles Duan, Director, Technology & Innovation Policy, R Street Institute – Charles gave an overview of R Street Institute’s brief, which pushed back on Qualcomm’s recent lobbying offensive to undo the FTC victory on national security grounds. Despite its claims, Charles explained, a Qualcomm victory would seriously harm our national security. Just as former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff recently argued, suspending competition law to allow Qualcomm to dispose of competitors puts the nation at greater risk by forcing us to rely on a single supplier of critical communications components. Charles pointed out that if Qualcomm is the dominant seller of baseband chipsets and there is a failure in the supply chain, manufacturers have no viable alternative. Charles highlighted the risks to cybersecurity as well, noting that having multiple software competitors in a given market creates competitive pressures to address vulnerabilities. These pressures are not present with a monopoly. Charles concluded that the absence of competition creates national security risks, but also separate cybersecurity risks, both of which weigh against Qualcomm’s pleas for leniency in the name of national security.