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Brussels, 24 th November 2009

Antitrust: Commission closes formal proceedings against Qualcomm

The European Commission has decided to close formal antitrust proceedings against Qualcomm Incorporated, a US chipset manufacturer, concerning an alleged breach of EC Treaty rules on abuse of a dominant market position (Article 82). The investigation was opened on 1 st October 2007 (see MEMO/07/389 ).

The European Commission is committed to fight against illegal behaviour by dominant companies in key innovative sectors like telecoms and IT when an abuse of their market power would deny consumers the benefits of competition and choice.

The Qualcomm case has raised important issues about the pricing of technology after its adoption as part of an industry standard. In practice, such assessments may be very complex, and any antitrust enforcer has to be careful about overturning commercial agreements. 

The Commission has investigated whether the royalties that Qualcomm has been charging since its patented technology became part of Europe's 3G standard are unreasonably high.

The Commission committed time and resources to this investigation in order to assess a complex body of evidence, but has not as yet reached formal conclusions.

All complainants have now withdrawn or indicated their intention to withdraw their complaints, and the Commission has therefore to decide where best to focus its resources and priorities. In view of this, the Commission does not consider it appropriate to invest further resources in this case.

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