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11/24/2009
01:44 PM
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Qualcomm Antitrust Case Dropped

The European Commission has withdrawn its regulatory proceeding against the mobile equipment maker.

With most of the mobile technology companies dropping their complaints against Qualcomm's licensing policies, the European Commission Tuesday withdrew its regulatory proceeding against the firm, too, leaving an antitrust case against Qualcomm in Japan as its remaining major antitrust hurdle.

Like most major antitrust cases, the proceeding against Qualcomm was instigated by competitors. But two final protestors -- Ericsson and Texas Instruments -- dropped their complaints Tuesday, making the way clear for the EC to drop its case, too.

In a statement, the EC said: "All the complainants have now withdrawn or indicated their intention to withdraw their complaints and the commission has therefore to decide where best to focus its resources and priorities.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."

Qualcomm hailed the EC decision and said its business practices are legal and noted that it cooperated with the EC in its investigation.

The investigation began about four years ago and the two major complainants -- Nokia and Broadcom -- have since settled their own licensing and intellectual property cases against Qualcomm. Nokia agreed to pay Qualcomm a multibillion dollar settlement while Qualcomm agreed to pay Broadcom nearly $900 million in its case. The complainants generally argued that Qualcomm was charging too much in its licensing agreements.

Throughout the proceedings, Qualcomm has maintained that its R & D investments have produced "technological advances, greater choices and lower prices." It has appealed an earlier ruling in the Japanese case.

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