Qualcomm Is Fined Again by European Regulators for Antitrust Behavior

Qualcomm, the world’s No. 1 maker of smartphone chips, was fined 242 million euros, or $272 million, by the European Commission on Thursday for blocking a rival from the market about a decade ago. It’s Qualcomm’s second penalty ordered by European regulators.

The European Commission accused Qualcomm of predatory pricing between 2009 and 2011 that was aimed at forcing out Icera, a British phone software maker that is now part of Nvidia.

“Qualcomm’s strategic behavior prevented competition and innovation in the market,” Margrethe Vestager, the competition commissioner, said in a statement.

In a news conference, she later defended the time it had taken to reach a decision — the commission first accused the company of predatory pricing in 2015 — saying it had been a complex case that depended on evidence from Qualcomm.

The fine amounts to 1.27 percent of Qualcomm’s revenue in 2018.

Qualcomm said it would appeal the decision, saying it was “unsupported by the law, economic principles or market facts.”

Last year, the commission fined Qualcomm 997 million euros ($1.1 billion) for paying Apple to use only its chips in iPhones, a tactic aimed at thwarting rivals including Intel.

Qualcomm has been targeted by other regulators for its business practices. In May, it lost an antitrust lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission, with the judge issuing a sweeping antitrust ruling against the company.

Hefty fines, in particular against American tech giants, have been a hallmark of Ms. Vestager’s five-year run as Europe’s antitrust enforcer, a policy that has earned her the ire of President Trump.

Ms. Vestager said she hoped to remain in the post when a new Commission takes office in November, but did not rule out taking another role. Her term ends on Oct. 31.

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