back to article EU we go again: Commission takes aim at Qualcomm over 5G antitrust concerns for radio frequency front end chips

Qualcomm is being probed once again by the European Commission, this time to ascertain if it abused market dominance in 5G modem chips to stifle competition in radio frequency front ends (RFFE). The disclosure came in its 10Q regulatory filing (PDF, page 13) delivered on Wednesday alongside financial results, where it …

  1. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
    Trollface

    Idle speculation

    I sometimes wonder if the whole "Huawei R Bad" thing is down to a Qualcomm lobbyist somewhere in Washington DC?

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: Idle speculation

      Without knowing the classified reasons from the Americans, all we can do is speculate.

      China can force companies to assist them in data collection and interception, and they can't legally refuse. So Huawei can say they won't snoop as much as they like, but this can't be trusted. However, the Americans also do this through Prism. So neither of them should be trusted.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Idle speculation

        If I recall correctly, Chinese corporations are obliged to have a government official on the board and if the official says snoop, the company is obliged to snoop

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Well, US corporations can get a National Security Letter and have to do whatever is in it, plus they are forbidden from talking about it.

          The only difference I can see is that the Chinese version is just a tad quicker.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            That and the Chinese don't declare themselves leaders of the "free" world!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Idle speculation

          And do you think it is different for major US corporations?

          Especially in a sector which is deemed vital for snooping agencies?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Idle speculation

      I'd be surprised - in all likelihood the opposite is true. If there is no 5G infrastructure to support Qualcomms mobile 5G chips there's not much demand for the premium products.

      However, Qualcomm probably does lobby hard on protecting IP even if some of their IP claims are a little sketchy (i.e. volume versus quality/importance for share of licencing revenue).

  2. Barrie Shepherd

    Speaking as a UK resident at a personal level I think I'd rather risk China sniffing all my data rather the the US.

    I'm sure that in China my data will drop off the radar but with the US sharing with GCHQ how long before I get a speeding ticket because Google Maps detected me travelling on the A57 at 5.5 MPH above the speed limit? Or a Parking ticket for staying in the car park for 1 minute over the 45 minute 'free' allowance?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your argument assumes that that China will not use your data AND that GCHQ will use your data for providing speeding or parking tickets.

      I would suggest your GCHQ arguments are false based on the number of cameras already in use by local authorities/private parking companies (CCTV) and and the police (average speed cameras) that provide information about your speeding and parking habits. Pretending GCHQ needs to be involved is a strawman.

      As for China, I would look at what the large Internet companies do with data and suggest China is doing similar things - creating a profile of you in case you ever come to visit in case they want to keep out troublemakers. I'll let you decide what a troublemaker maybe.

  3. Trollslayer Silver badge

    I worked for Icera

    and it was the best job I ever had.

    Now working in Dorset, job isn't as good but a waaaaay better place to live than Bristol.

  4. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    "The complaint centred around the allegation that Qualcomm paid billions of dollars in kickbacks to Apple so it would be its exclusive customer."

    Give a discount to keep a customer. Get fined eleventy billion dollars.

    This one seems odd, no?

    1. Mike007

      From the relevant register article:

      "These payments were not just reductions in price – they were made on the condition that Apple would exclusively use Qualcomm's baseband chipsets in all its iPhones and iPads."

      It was not a discount to keep a large customer, I would argue it was worse than what Microsoft did with PC suppliers by offering a discount on the condition of exclusivity.

      Why worse? Be because Apple have a large line of existing products they manufacture with these chips. If they wanted to create a new product that used a competitors chips then they wouldn't be able to stop buying the Qualcomm chips for existing products, but would lose the kickbacks that were financially the same as a discount but clearly structured differently.

      (It's almost as if this non-obvious way of stricturing the discount was done in the knowledge that it looked far more suspicous than a simple discount, yet could be argued to be a different practice then what was decisively declared illegal in the most famous tech related monopoly abuse case in history...)

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