Qualcomm was sent antitrust criticism by European Union over sales tactics that regulators say thwarted rivals for mobile-phone chip technology.
Since year 2011, Qualcomm has paid off significant amounts to an unidentified major smartphone and tablet manufacturers in return for it exclusively using Qualcomm chipsets in products. As per EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager:
“I am concerned that Qualcomm’s actions may have pushed out competitors or prevented them from competing. Many consumers enjoy high-speed Internet on smartphones and other devices – baseband chipsets are key components that make this happen.”
Moreover, reports have claimed the chip giant to add on growing within US technology firms’ list for facing EU antitrust action, following probes into Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp. A statement of objections may lead to fines, capped at 10% of annual global revenue, which can be avoided if a company agrees to make changes to business behavior.
On the other hand, in its defense, Qualcomm disagreed over an allegation saying that it always performed manufacturing functions within European Union competition law premises.
“We look forward to demonstrating that competition in the sale of wireless chips has been and remain strong and dynamic.” – The company’s General Counsel, Don Rosenberg
The EU sent two statements of objections focusing on different issues. Qualcomm’s exclusivity payments to the phone and tablet manufacturer made the company less likely to buy rival products, harming competition and innovation” for third- and fourth-generation mobile technology baseband chipsets, the EU said.
Qualcomm has three months to respond to the exclusivity allegations and four months for the pricing case. It can seek an oral hearing with officials.
Earlier in February, company was fined with US$ 975 million to settle a Chinese antitrust investigation. It also agreed to offer local companies a discount on technology licensing. The company has also disclosed that it’s facing possible investigations in the U.S. and Korea.