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The European Commission fined Qualcomm for unfair business practices dating back to the launch of their 3G chipsets in 2009

The European Commission has fined US chip manufacturer Qualcomm €242m for abusing its dominant market position and charging unfair prices for accessing its product.

The ruling concludes a nine-year long case brought by the Commissions Anti-trust Division against Qualcomm, as originally reported in the Financial Times.

The European Commission argued that Qualcomm offered Chinese vendors lower priced access to their 3G chipsets, in an attempt to maximise their market share.

“Dominant companies have a special responsibility not to impair competition in the market. They can sell at low prices but not below costs, with the intention of eliminating a competitor,” said the EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.

Qualcomm took the measures to directly undermine the business plans of its competitor, Icera, the Commission said.

"To make sure Icera’s business could not reach a size that could endanger the market position of Qualcomm, Qualcomm took what it describes in internal documents as ‘preventive actions’. This means offering very targeted price concessions to two strategically important customers," Vestager said.

This is the second high profile fine that Qualcomm has received in Europe in the last 12 months. Last year, the US chipset maker was fined €997m for unfairly cornering the market, by paying Apple to exclusively use its chipsets in its iPhone and iPad products.

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