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Qualcomm hit with two EU antitrust probes

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Qualcomm is under investigation by the European Union’s antitrust authority, which suspects the company of abusing its dominant position in the market for 3G and 4G chipsets used in smartphones and tablets.

The European Commission has initiated proceedings against Qualcomm in two investigations, it said Thursday. The first concerns whether Qualcomm breached EU antitrust rules by offering financial incentives to phone manufacturers on condition that they buy chipsets exclusively, or mostly, from the company; the second, whether Qualcomm engaged in predatory pricing, selling below cost to force competitors out of the market.

Mobile processors and baseband chipsets, which handle the communications protocols used in wireless networks, form a significant proportion of the cost of a mobile phone and, at least at the low end of the market, margins are getting thinner, leaving phonemakers more vulnerable to pricing pressures from their suppliers.

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