The second Statement of Objections takes the preliminary view that between 2009 and 2011 Qualcomm engaged in 'predatory pricing' by selling certain baseband chipsets at prices below costs, with the intention of hindering competition in the market. This conduct appears to have taken place at a time when Icera posed a growing threat to Qualcomm in the leading edge segment of the market, offering advanced data rate performance. In the Commission's preliminary view, Qualcomm reacted to that threat by selling certain quantities of its UMTS baseband chipsets to two of its customers at prices that did not cover Qualcomm's costs, with the aim of forcing Icera out of the market.
A Statement of Objections informs the subject of the investigation of the allegations against it and provides an opportunity to respond to such allegations. It is not a determination of the final outcome of the investigation.
Qualcomm now has the opportunity to respond to the Commission's allegations outlined in the Statements of Objections within 3 months as regards the exclusivity payment objections and 4 months as regards the predatory pricing objections, and to ask for an oral hearing in each case.
"Qualcomm has been cooperating with the Commission since the outset of these matters, and now that we've received the Statements of Objections, we welcome the chance to formally respond," said Qualcomm general counsel and executive vice president, Don Rosenberg. "We look forward to demonstrating that competition in the sale of wireless chips has been and remains strong and dynamic, and that Qualcomm's sales practices have always complied with European competition law."
Separately, the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission (TFTC) has requested information from Qualcomm, and has initiated an investigation into whether the company's patent licensing arrangements violate the Taiwan Fair Trade Act.