I lost a company Qualcomm today, Thursday, its battle with European antitrust bodies Concerning the request for data after the European Court reaffirmed the right of the organizers to have access to it, in a case that resulted in a fine of 292 million dollars.
The ruling by the Luxembourg-based European Union Court of Justice (CJEU) strengthens the European Commission’s hand in other antitrust investigations.
Skirmishes between Qualcomm and the European Commission have seen it receive total fines of € 1.2 billion in two cases in the past three years for using its market power to frustrate competitors, including Intel.
In the first case, the company was fined 242 million euros, and in the second case, it was fined 997 million euros for abusing its market dominance in relation to LTE SIM cards.
Complaints from European antitrust bodies date back to 2017 when Qualcomm was asked to provide more information in a case accused of negative pricing between 2009 and 2011 in order to crush the British semiconductor company Icera, which was later bought by Nvidia.
In July 2019, the European Commission imposed a fine of 242 million euros against Qualcomm for misusing its dominance over the 3G chip market, selling the chips at below cost in order to force its rival Icera out of the market.
Qualcomm sold certain quantities of three of its UMTS chips at below cost to Huawei and ZTE, aiming to eliminate Icera, its main competitor at the time in the market segment.
Qualcomm said: The request went beyond the scope of the investigation, and it took its case to the General Court, the second highest court in Europe, but lost the challenge in 2019, and then appealed to the European Union Court of Justice (CJEU).
The court supported European antitrust bodies.
And the judges said: Given the broad investigative powers granted to the Commission under Regulation No. 1/2003, it is up to the Commission to decide whether a particular item of information is necessary to enable it to highlight the violation of competition rules.
Qualcomm is the subject of a third case in which European antitrust agencies are investigating whether the company has engaged in anti-competitive behavior by leveraging its market position in relation to 5G modem chips in the radio frequency chip market.