The European Commission Thursday opened two antitrust investigations against chipset giant Qualcomm, Inc., for possible abuse of its dominant market position. This is the latest antitrust probe in a series of investigations by the agency against U.S. companies, including Google Inc and Apple Inc.
The first investigation will probe if the San Diego-based company gave financial incentives to its customers on the condition that they only bought Qualcomm's 3G and 4G chipsets, according to a press release. The second probe will determine whether Qualcomm followed “predatory pricing” to sell the 3G chips below cost, with an intention to force its rivals out of the market.
"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,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said, in the release.
Qualcomm is the market leader in manufacturing baseband chipsets normally used for radio interfaces such as WiFi and 4G in cellular phones. The company released a statement Thursday saying it was “disappointed to hear” about the antitrust probe and is “cooperating” with the commission.
Other U.S. technology companies also have been targeted by the European Union, which has launched antitrust investigations against Google and Amazon.com Inc's ebook business for market abuse earlier this year. It is also looking into the European tax practices of Amazon, Apple and Starbucks.