Thursday 18 July 2019 8:46 am

Qualcomm braced for second EU antitrust fine

US chipmaker Qualcomm is said to be facing a second fine from EU competition regulators for blocking a rival from the market more than a decade ago.

The EU competition commission opened a probe into the company in 2015 for its alleged use of “predatory pricing” designed to force out UK rival Icera between 2009 and 2011.

Read more: Apple settles landmark $27bn legal battle with Qualcomm

The regulator accused Qualcomm of selling its chipsets at prices below costs in order to block competition.

The four-year investigation is now drawing to a close and the EU could hand down a fine as early as today, Reuters reported, citing sources.

Last year the commission fined the chipmaker €997m (£900m) for paying Apple billions of dollars to only use Qualcomm chips in iPhone and iPad devices.

The regulator, which has the power to fine companies up to 10 per cent of their global turnover, said the agreement was an abuse of the firm’s dominant market position.

The sanction could be one of the last under competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is set to step down at the end of October.

Vestager has cultivated a reputation for ruthlessness during her five-year reign, slapping down hefty fines on recalcitrant tech giants such as Google and Facebook.

Read more: Qualcomm launches new 5G smartphone chip ahead of network rollout

The antitrust chief yesterday launched a probe into Amazon over concerns it abuses its market dominance by unfaily prioritising its own products over those of smaller sellers.

Qualcomm has also faced a crackdown in the US, where it lost an antitrust lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year.

Main image credit: Getty