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Deal with Samsung could help Qualcomm with Korean legal issue

The chipmaker for phones inks an agreement with Samsung that includes the smartphone maker stepping away from an antitrust appeal in South Korea.

Qualcomm sign on building
Lynn La/CNET

Qualcomm, the world's largest supplier of chips for phones, says it's cut a deal with Samsung that could help it put a Korean antitrust case behind it and avoid a massive fine.

In a statement Wednesday, Qualcomm said it had "expanded its global patent cross-license agreement with Samsung covering mobile devices and infrastructure equipment" and that as part of the deal, Samsung "will be withdrawing its interventions in Qualcomm's appeal of the KFTC decision in the Seoul High Court."

In December, South Korea hit Qualcomm with an $850 million fine following a three-year investigation. The South Korean Fair Trade Commission accused the chipset maker of having an "unfair business model" and creating a monopoly with its practices.

Qualcomm is fighting fierce legal battles against Apple and governments around the globe. Apple, Samsung and others also have been working on their own processors and partnering with Intel to reduce their reliance on Qualcomm's wireless chips. At the same time, Qualcomm is facing a hostile takeover bid from rival Broadcomm, which if it came to pass, would be the biggest in tech history.

CNET's Shara Tibken contributed to this report.