California-based Qualcomm is facing an antitrust investigation from the European Commission over whether the company engaged in anti-competitive behaviour by leveraging its market position in radio frequency front-end (RFFE) chips used in 5G devices.
Qualcomm released the investigation information in a regulatory filing on Wednesday, when they also detailed the first significant sales gains in the RFFE chips market.
Finally, CEO @stevemollenkopf reflects on this quarter’s performance and what it means not only for Qualcomm, but the promising future of #5G. [7/7] pic.twitter.com/aBXHB0cj3pFebruary 5, 2020
The European Commission requested information from Qualcomm in December 2019. In the companies 10Q investor filing, available on the company website, Qualcomm has noted on the issue: “it is investigating whether we engaged in anti-competitive behaviour in the European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) by leveraging our market position in 5G baseband processors in the RFFE space.” In the filing, Qualcomm also state: “We believe that our business practices do not violate the EU competition rules.”
If Qualcomm is found to have engaged in anti-competitive behaviour, the European Commission can impose a fine of up to 10% of its annual revenues, as well as prohibiting or restricting certain business practices.
Qualcomm, who has radio frequency chip contracts with companies including Samsung, LG and Google, has faced antitrust action before. In July 2019, the European Commission fined Qualcomm 242 million euros for blocking a rival from the market, about a decade previous. In 2018, Qualcomm were fined 997 million euros by the European Commission for paying Apple to only use its chips in iPhones.
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