European Union antitrust regulators are investigating U.S. wireless technologies company Qualcomm for possible abusive business practices, European officials said Monday. Qualcomm, the world's second-largest chipmaker for cell phones, may have violated EU competition rules by refusing to share licensing terms for its mobile phone technology, EU spokesman Jonathan Todd told reporters. EU investigators had upgraded their probe to "priority status" to complete the investigation as soon as possible, he said.
Competitors including Broadcom Corp., NEC Corp., Nokia Corp., LM Ericsson, Panasonic Mobile Communications and Texas Instruments Inc. had previously complained that Qualcomm's royalty fees for next-generation mobile phone chips were too high and thus broke agreements among patent holders to keep costs at a reasonable level. "They claim that Qualcomm is not making the necessary intellectual property rights available ... on conditions that are fair, reasonable and non discriminatory," Todd said.