Qualcomm faces fresh EC probe

Qualcomm faces another probe into anticompetitive behavior in Europe, after chip maker Icera lodged a complaint with the European Commission. 
 
The firm alleges that Qualcomm is offering favorable patent deals to customers provided they don’t use Icera’s 3G silicon, after it began gaining traction with big-names including AT&T, Vodafone and Softbank, which use Icera chips in 3G dongles, FT.com reports.
 
Jeffries semiconductor analyst Lee Simpson told the paper Qualcomm is worried about its pricing as it struggles to maintain margins around the 60% level, and views Icera’s products as something “that could potentially disrupt the pricing further.” 
 
A Qualcomm spokesman told Telecoms Europe.net the probe is at a very early stage and the firm is reviewing the allegations. 
 
However, he was confident the outcome would mirror that of a previous complaint by Nokia, Broadcom and Ericsson, which the EC dismissed late last year. 
 
“We believe the new allegations to be equally meritless,” he said, noting that the previous complain “apparently failed to persuade the Commission.” 

However, at the time, the EC said it had dropped its investigation after key complainants abandoned their four-year long battle against Qualcomm.

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