A view of one of Qualcomm's many buildings in San Diego, California. Picture: REUTERS
A view of one of Qualcomm's many buildings in San Diego, California. Picture: REUTERS

Brussels — Qualcomm has lost a court bid to stall EU regulators from imposing daily fines of €580,000 for failing to supply information for antitrust probes into the company’s sales tactics.

US-based Qualcomm could not continue to refuse answering regulators’ questions because it did not show its business or financial health was at risk, EU General Court president Marc Jaeger said in an order published on its website.

While Qualcomm can continue to fight the EU’s demands, it must comply and hand over information to officials.

Qualcomm was exposed to penalties "in the range of several millions of euros" for not fully responding to EU data needed for the final stage of an investigation into below-cost sales of chipsets that aimed to squash a smaller rival, the EU court order said. The case is one of two antitrust probes the EU is weighing as it separately examines the firm’s $47bn takeover of NXP Semiconductors.

The risk of new fines adds another front to Qualcomm’s battles with regulators over its sales tactics as Apple ramps up a global dispute with the company, withholding billions of dollars in payments, which has forced Qualcomm to slash forecasts. Qualcomm has fought back by asking the International Trade Commission in Washington to bar entry to iPhones not made with its chips.

Qualcomm said the EU was forcing it to disrupt its business "in order to avoid the enormous daily penalty of €580,000". Collecting the information it requested would cost at least €3m and thousands of working hours for 50 staff.

Bloomberg

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