European Commission accuses Qualcomm of shady business tactics

The European Commission has sent Qualcomm two Statements of Objections regarding alleged anticompetitive practices. The EC has been investigating the firm since last July, and it's now published its preliminary conclusions.

The first Statement of Objections is related to "significant amounts" that Qualcomm has allegedly been paying to a "major smartphone and tablet manufacturer" since 2011. The payments were made under the condition that the mobile device manufacturer exclusively use Qualcomm's chipsets, under a contract that is still in force today. The Commission believes this move stifled competition in the UMTS and LTE baseband chipset markets.

The EC also says that Qualcomm sold baseband chipsets below cost to two of its customers between 2009 and 2011, in an apparent move to drive then-competitor Icera (a subsidiary of Nvidia) out of the market. Qualcomm now has three months to reply to the Comission regarding the exclusivity payments, and four months to respond about the predatory pricing objections. It should be noted that issuing a Statement of Objection does not constitute a judgment of wrongdoing by the EC.

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