The Commission investigation has shown that Qualcomm held a dominant position in the worldwide market for Long-Term Evolution (LTE) baseband chipsets during the period subject to investigation, i e , 2011 to 2016
EU Competition Law prevents dominant companies from imposing exclusivity conditions to their customers in exchange for payments or rebates Such practices may deter customers from switching suppliers, thereby distorting competition
In this sense, the Commission has found that Qualcomm abused its dominant position by entering into exclusivity arrangements with Apple in order to exclude other chip manufacturers from the mobile phone market. On this basis, Qualcomm has been ned EUR 997 million.
The anti-competitive arrangements were concluded through an agreement signed in 2011 with Apple, whereby Qualcomm commi ed to pay signi cant amounts to the American IT company on the condition that the la er would use Qualcomm’s chipset in iPhones and iPads. In 2013, the parties extended the duration of the agreement until 2016
According to the Commission, Apple considered sourcing part of its chipsets from Intel but was led to drop the idea due to Qualcomm’s payments
There is another Commission investigation on-going into Qualcomm More precisely, the Commission is assessing whether Qualcomm engaged in predatory pricing by selling its products at prices lower than the manufacturing costs between 2009 and 2011
This last investigation was prompted by a complaint led by Icera, one of Qualcomm’s competitors, concerning the dongles market Dongles are devices that contain chipset and allow laptops to be connected to broadband services