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Japan joins Qualcomm finger-pointers

Market-abuse accusations span the globe

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The Japanese Fair Trade Commission has sent a draft order to Qualcomm accusing the chip supplier of abusing its market dominance, accusations with which the company must be getting quite familiar.

Qualcomm hasn't responded in detail to the latest accusation, claiming that it's having trouble translating the draft and that the whole thing has come as a complete surprise, but it clearly believes it's done no wrong in Japan and will respond once it's got a handle on the complaint.

Only last week Qualcomm was fined by the South Korean antitrust agency for offering discounts on CDMA chips to companies purchasing other Qualcomm products, though Qualcomm Korea is apparently still considering an appeal on the grounds that such discounts are entirely legitimate.

Meanwhile the EU continues to investigate if Qualcomm has been overcharging customers for use of its patents, in response to complaints from Nokia and Broadcom.

While Qualcomm is still preparing a proper response to the latest draft received, it has said that the allegations seem to relate to "industry-standard licensing terms" which are "pro-competitive" and the result of "intense negotiations with very substantial Japanese companies".

We don't know which of those very-substantial companies has triggered the draft (an independently-launched action by the commission is possible, but very unlikely), Qualcomm points out that it hasn't seen any of the evidence yet, so we have to assume it's equally in the dark for the moment at least. ®

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