The European Union hit wireless chipmaker Qualcomm with a second fine for anticompetitive activities. The new fine of $272 million is over Qualcomm’s alleged abuse of its market dominance in wireless chips necessary to connect phones and other devices to mobile networks.
The EU antitrust authority claimed Qualcomm drove out European competition by cutting prices below the market rate in the 2009 to 2011 timeframe. Qualcomm disputes the charge. This is the second fine Qualcomm has received from European authorities in about 18 months. In January of last year, Qualcomm was hit with a $1.2 billion fine for payments made to Apple that undercut rival Intel.
Europe’s actions are part of an escalation of regulatory scrutiny of U.S. tech giants. Qualcomm is the leading provider of cellular modem chips. Qualcomm also faces antitrust action from a recent ruling made by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, though the company is appealing and the U.S. Justice Department is asking for a pause on the ruling.