Today the European Commission has concluded a 4 year long antitrust investigation into anti-competitive business behaviour of Qualcomm against other players in the market, and has fined the company €242 million for abusing its market dominance in 3G baseband chipsets during the period of 2009 to 2011.

The investigation was formally opened on July 16th 2015 and particularly looked at Qualcomm’s behaviour in the late 3G/UMTS and early 4G era where it held a commanding lead over other vendors in supplying modem chipsets.

The Commission concluded that Qualcomm had engaged in predatory pricing of three chipsets with evidence that the company had aimed to strategically push out and eliminate new contenders in the market, with a specific mention of Icera.

The Commission goes into more detail in regards to Qualcomm’s pricing behaviour in the mid-2009 to mid-2011 period where it concluded that it sold UMTS chipsets below cost to Huawei and ZTE, two important customers, with the goal of eliminating Icera.

Icera was an up-and-coming UMTS and LTE vendor which had started to see success in the market, and ended up being acquired by Nvidia with plans of integrating the technology into the Tegra line-up of SoCs, one product of this venture ending up being the Tegra 4i. The Tegra 4i unfortunately saw very little success among vendors in the market even though the chipset was technically equivalent to the Snapdragon 800/801 SoCs at the time. Nvidia ended up shuttering the division in 2015 due to a lack of success.

Qualcomm has communicated that the company is planning to appeal the finding.

The fine comes shortly after a recent scathing ruling in the US where the FTC had accused the company of similar anti-competitive behaviour breaching antitrust laws, and several years of scrutiny and fines by several regulatory agencies of various countries around the world.

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Source: European Commission Press Release

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  • lejeczek - Thursday, July 18, 2019 - link

    At the same time EU commission(s) is deep in the pocket of Chinese, namely Huawei, but then hey... they are in pockets of pretty much anybody who has big money and/or big ideology.
  • melgross - Thursday, July 18, 2019 - link

    Qualcomm is a company, as Microsoft was before it, that has made much of its money persuading criminal goals. If all if the sales and profits from those goals were removed, the company would go bankrupt.
  • id4andrei - Thursday, July 18, 2019 - link

    What has MS got to do with this article? What is your grudge with these companies? Your beloved Apple also broke anti-trust laws. You conveniently forget that and maybe have excuses prepared.
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, July 18, 2019 - link

    Mel is strung quite high. I wouldn't give it much thought.
  • melgross - Thursday, July 18, 2019 - link

    And you’re strung quite low.
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, July 18, 2019 - link

    You betcha! It's a lot easier to take life with a laugh than it is to be wrapped as tightly as you appear to be. You're going to give yourself a brain meltdown if you keep freaking out about brand names on the stuff you buy.
  • close - Monday, July 22, 2019 - link

    You're all here whining the EU is doing something about these shady business practices instead of being happy. The only reason other companies can still try to build some SoCs, or implement at least some half-decent privacy measures, etc. is that the EU slapped them around with these fines.

    "The EU is in Huawei's pocket". Yet for the life of me I can's see any evidence ever provided by anyone that Huawei did anything malicious. Or at least something Cisco doesn't do on a daily basis. Let alone any evidence that the EU was financially biased in this decision.

    So if you have proof Huawei was spying show it (seems nobody else was ever able to so you might even get a candy). If you have proof that th EU is in Huawei's pocket show it (anything reasonable, not just "well they fined Qualcomm so OBVIOUSLY..."). If you have proof that there was some underhanded action with this fine show it (seems like every news outlet that wrote about this made it clear Qualcomm was in the wrong in the US and EU). Or keep acting like 14 year olds who discovered conspiracy theories and "politics" on the internet.
  • melgross - Thursday, July 18, 2019 - link

    Both of those companies did more than break anti trust laws. The case against Apple was strange. Pretty much every anti trust professor in the country signed a letter as a “friend of the court” stating that Apple didn’t do anything wrong. So it different.
  • Opencg - Thursday, July 18, 2019 - link

    apple is a horrible evil company
  • Sttm - Wednesday, July 24, 2019 - link

    Microsofts criminal goals of bundling a web browser with an OS! THE HORROR!

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