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EU to investigate Qualcomm over "predatory pricing"

The European Commission has opened two antitrust investigations into semiconductor giant Qualcomm, relating to predatory pricing and modem hardware.

Published onJuly 16, 2015

EU flags in front of European Commission in Brussels

The European Commission loves to keep tabs on big foreign companies operating within its remit and its ever watchful eye has been drawn to possible market abuse by dominant mobile SoC developer Qualcomm.

The Commission has just opened up two antitrust investigations into the US semiconductor company. The first is looking at whether Qualcomm offered financial incentives to its customers in order to exclusively use its own baseband chips in their products.

The second investigation aims to figure out whether or not Qualcomm unfairly sold its 3G modem chips at below cost prices, also known as “predatory pricing”. This would in effect push its competitors out of the market, as they would be unable to match Qualcomm’s pricing.

“Many customers use electronic devices such as a mobile phone or a tablet, and we want to ensure that they ultimately get value for money,” – European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager

Qualcomm has been quick to point out that these initial proceedings do not represent a formal accusation against the company. However, the semiconductor giant has previously coughed up $975 million to avoid an investigation into monopolistic practises in China.

If found guilty, Qualcomm could be fined up to 10 percent of its yearly earnings and be forced to alter its business practises within the Single Market.

This is just the latest in an ever growing list of European Commission investigations into large US based technology companies operating within Europe. The body has already looked at Apple’s and Amazon’s tax dealings, and is also investigating Google’s search results and Android operating system.

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