Qualcomm hit with new EU probe; but partners for mobile health push

Having succeeded in defending itself against an EU investigation that only finished six months ago, the giant technology developer Qualcomm again finds itself under suspicion from European authorities that it might be abusing its heavyweight market position.

This time the UK silicon developer Icera, an expert in 3G and 4G modem technology, claims that Qualcomm is using its extensive library of patents to 'discourage' companies from purchasing Icera products. While the specific details of Icera's complaint remains unclear, lawyers close to the issue believe that this latest case is not about excessive royalty pricing, but more focused on bundling third party patents with Qualcomm's own offering. If correct, this would make for a more clear-cut antitrust complaint.

Brussels-based antitrust lawyers have been open in claiming that the EU's antitrust team was unhappy with the outcome of the last 4-year investigation into Qualcomm's business activities in Europe. Responding to the complaint, Qualcomm said it was reviewing the allegations. A spokesman added: "We do note, however, the similarity between Icera's allegations and those in complaints made previously to the EU, which apparently failed to persuade the Commission and were ultimately withdrawn. We believe the new allegations to be equally meritless."

In other news, UK-based Cambridge Consultants has announced that it will use Qualcomm's 'wearable mobile device cellular module' combined with its own Vena software stack to build a wireless medical device for online health services. The new platform, which will be compliant to the Continua standard, enables data to be collected from other Continua-based devices utilising a PAN, and have it transmitted over a WAN to online health services.

The Vena software from Cambridge Consultants supports Bluetooth that has been optimised for the secure transport of medical data, while Qualcomm's wearable mobile device supports a variety of 3G networks, integrated GPS, an accelerometer and Bluetooth technologies.

According to Nick Vassilakis, a business development consultant at Cambridge Consultants, "by combining the Vena stack with Qualcomm's cellular modules, we can demonstrate how next generation health care services have the potential to evolve by using cellular networks."

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