The European Commission has launched two formal investigations into Qualcomm that will examine whether the company has abused its position in the mobile chipset market.
The EU is looking into whether Qualcomm has breached European antitrust laws by offering financial incentives to customers that used the manufacturer as their sole chipset supplier.
The investigation will be centred around the supply of certain 3G and 4G basebands by Qualcomm, with an aim of determining whether the chipset vendor has offered “payments, rebates or other financial incentives...on condition that they purchase all or a significant part of their baseband chipsets requirements from Qualcomm, and whether any such behaviour might hinder the ability of rivals to compete”.
Brussels is also investigating whether Qualcomm engaged in “predatory pricing” practices by undercutting rivals, in order to force out competition.
The European Commission said it is opening investigation proceedings “as a matter of priority”.
EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, said: "We are launching these investigations because we want to be sure that high tech suppliers can compete on the merits of their products. 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.”
In response, Qualcomm said in a statement: “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.”