EU Antitrust Investigators Eye Qualcomm

     (CN) – EU regulators are investigating whether telecom giant Qualcomm broke antitrust laws with predatory pricing and exclusivity agreements in the mobile-device market, the European Commission said Thursday.
     The EU’s regulatory body launched two separate investigations into San Diego-based Qualcomm’s dealings in the baseband chipset market. Baseband chipsets process communications functions in smartphones, tablets and other mobile broadband devices.
     Qualcomm is the world’s largest supplier of baseband chipsets, the commission said.
     In one investigation, the commission will examine whether Qualcomm abused its dominant market position by offering customers financial incentives if they buy their 3G and LTE chipsets exclusively or almost exclusively from Qualcomm.
     The second investigation involves whether Qualcomm engaged in predatory pricing by selling the 3G chipsets below cost in order to force its competition out of the market, the commission said.
     “We are launching these investigations because we want to be sure that high tech suppliers can compete on the merits of their products,” said competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. “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. Effective competition is the best way to stimulate innovation.”
     The commission has no legal deadline to complete antitrust investigations, which last for years.

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