European Commission fines Qualcomm €242 million for anti-competitive practices

Qualcomm's market practices have not always sat well with the competition rules in Europe. The European Commission (EC) today fined yet again the American chip giant €242 million (~$271 million) for what the commission described as "predatory pricing."

The case stems from an EC investigation that kicked off in 2015, concluding that Qualcomm abused its market dominance from 2009 to 2011 by selling 3G baseband chipsets to Huawei and ZTE below cost. This action forced its biggest rival Icera to close its baseband chipset business in 2015 after it was acquired by Nvidia in 2011.

Regarding the latest fine on Qualcomm, EC Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said:

"Qualcomm's strategic behaviour prevented competition and innovation in this market, and limited the choice available to consumers in a sector with a huge demand and potential for innovative technologies. Since this is illegal under EU antitrust rules, we have today fined Qualcomm €242 million."

The penalty accounts for 1.27% of Qualcomm's turnover last year. Additionally, the EC ordered the company to avoid similar conduct in the future.

This is not the first time, though, that Qualcomm was slapped with huge fines for its anti-competitive practices. Earlier last year, it was fined €997.4 million ($1.23 billion) by the European Union's Competition Commission for abusing its market position between 2011 and 2016 by paying Apple to exclusively use its chipsets in iPhone and iPad devices.

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