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Qualcomm to get it from both sides? EU probe may be coming – report

China's 'monopoly' probe has already begun

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Mobile chipmaker Qualcomm could be facing into an antitrust probe from the EU at the same time as it fends off a similar investigation in China, according to Reuters.

Sources whispered to the news agency that the European Commission may be about to open up an official line of inquiry into a complaint made by Icera, an Nvidia subsidiary, four years ago.

Antoine Colombani, spokesperson for the EC’s antitrust division, refused to comment on the report to El Reg.

The whispering folks familiar with the matter had told Reuters that the EC could be planning to open up the case after the summer, based on complaints that Icera made in 2010.

The firm, which has since been bought up by Nvidia, accused Qualcomm of using patent incentives and exclusionary pricing of chips to discourage people from doing business with it, one source said.

The issue had been put on the back burner for a while, but has reappeared on the antitrust regulator’s priority list now that its huge €1.1bn fine against Intel has been upheld by Europe’s courts. Chipzilla was slapped with the fine for abuse of its dominant market position.

The last thing Qualcomm wants is another antitrust probe. The firm was already hit by the South Korean Fair Trade Commission’s largest ever penalty in 2009 of $269m for abusing its position in the chips used in mobes from Samsung and LG. Qualcomm is also under investigation in China for alleged monopoly practices. ®

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