EU accuses Qualcomm of using market power to hinder rivals. Fred Katayama reports.
Qualcomm hit with yet another investigation. The European Commission filed antitrust charges Tuesday against the mobile chipmaker that supplies Apple, among others. It made two accusations: one, that Qualcomm might have illegally paid a big customer for exclusively using its chipsets, and two, sold chipsets below cost with the aim of forcing out competitors. What's more, Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission has just launched an investigation into whether the chipmaker's patent licensing arrangements violate the country's Fair Trade Act. This adds to antitrust probes the company already faces from regulators in the U.S., Japan, and South Korea. Qualcomm's stock fell. It was one of the biggest decliners on the S&P 500. If found guilty of the European charges, Qualcomm could face a $2.7 billion fine. That would amount to about 10 percent of its 2014 worldwide revenue. In February it paid a $975 million fine to end a 14-month investigation by the Chinese government into anti-competitive practices. Qualcomm contends it has always complied with European competition law. It has until April to respond to the EC.