The European Commission on Thursday charged Qualcomm with another count of predatory pricing, having delivered it in the form of a Supplementary Statement of Objections meant to follow up on a complaint already sent to the company in December of 2015. The political bloc has been investigating Qualcomm on numerous fronts in recent years, having paid special attention to its relationship with Apple and the manner in which it handles patent licensing. The EU believes that Qualcomm sold a number of UMTS baseband chips at a loss in a period between 2009 and 2011 with the goal of eliminating British mobile software developer Icera, as well as driving away U.S. chipmaker NVIDIA, though the latter's well-being isn't Brussels's top priority due to the fact that it isn't a European company.
The market for chips that allow for both mobile data and voice transmissions based on the third generation of wireless networks ended up being entirely dominated by Qualcomm, in part due to its predatory pricing practices, the EC said in its statement, asserting that the San Diego, California-based technology giant clearly failed its "price-cost" test during the probe. The investigation into Qualcomm's pricing schemes is still ongoing and the EU has yet to clarify when it intends to conclude it. In a prepared statement, the chipmaker said it's disappointed with the latest turn of events.
The EC already fined Qualcomm with the equivalent of $1.23 billion this January after concluding its decision to pay Apple to not use competing chips in iPhones, iPads, and other products constituted anti-competitive behavior aimed at hurting Intel and other rivals in the industry. Qualcomm repeatedly insisted it isn't a monopoly and appealed the ruling. If made official, its latest violation may amount to a fine of up to a tenth of its annual revenue which amounted to $22.3 billion in 2017, five-percent up year-on-year. The company recently also had issues with convincing Brussels to approve its proposed acquisition of Dutch NXP Semiconductors, though the deal still hasn't been finalized due to opposition from China which is at least partially fueled by the ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing.