EU may follow China in Qualcomm antitrust probe

Summary:The chipmaker may end up facing two antitrust probes if EU officials get their way.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

Qualcomm may be facing yet another regulatory probe — this time in Europe — over its business practices, according to one report.

Sources speaking to Reuters said antitrust regulators at the European Commission may open a probe into the world's number one chipmaker, following a four-year old complaint filed by Nvidia.

British phone chipmaker Icera, acquired by chip giant Nvidia in 2011  for $367 million, took a complaint to the Commission in 2010, accusing Qualcomm on anticompetitive practices. 

Although the Commission has not publicly commented on the matter, a probe could land as soon as the end of summer, one of the sources told the news agency.

It comes just a few weeks after Qualcomm cut its outlook for the fiscal fourth quarter over issues in China, in which one of the country's regulators is investigating the company's business practices .

Qualcomm admitted that it believed "certain licensees in China currently are not fully complying with their contractual obligations to report their sales of licensed products to us," adding that it will take steps to address the issue, but could not give a time frame on when a resolution could be found.

That uncertainty alone led the company to suffer a substantial revenue ding.

European officials are able to fine a company up to 10 percent of its global annual revenue for the affected period.

Qualcomm generated $26.28 billion in revenue ending June 30, more than double its 2010 revenue of just over $10 billion. Although the time period of the complaint is not yet known, any fines could land in the low single-digits billion dollar range.

Topics: EU, Hardware, Mobility

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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