The European Commission has launched two formal investigations against Qualcomm to determine whether or not the chip maker engaged in antitrust practices. It's alleged the company has abused its market position by undercutting rival parties to force them out of the industry.
The first investigation will examine whether Qualcomm offered financial incentives to customers if they purchased baseband chipsets exclusively (or almost exclusively) from the company. The second investigation will look into whether Qualcomm sold its products below cost in order to drive rivals out of the market.
Both investigations will cover chips used for 3G and 4G technology, working off probing that has been underway since 2010. This isn't the first time the European Commission has investigated Qualcomm, with a 4-year long enquiry that ended in 2009. The company also had to fork out $975 million in China after settling with the country's National Development and Reform Commission in an antitrust dispute.
Update: Qualcomm released a statement commenting on the new European Commission investigation:
"We were informed that the European Commission has taken the procedural step of "initiating proceedings" against Qualcomm with regard to the two ongoing investigations into Qualcomm's sale of chipsets for mobile devices. This step allows investigators to gather additional facts, but it represents neither an expression by the Commission on the merits of the case nor an accusation against the Company. While we were disappointed to hear this, we have been cooperating and will continue to cooperate with the Commission, and we continue to believe that any concerns are without merit."
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