Crypto Currency

While Washington Talks Antitrust, Europe Takes Action

fended off accusations that they are strangling competition. In another, Facebook’s David Marcus explained why the social media giant should be given a green light to expand ambitiously into global finance with its Libra cryptocurrency. You’d be forgiven, watching the dueling livestreams, for thinking you’d stumbled across portals into a pair of parallel universes.Gregory Barber…

fended off accusations that they are strangling competition. In another, Facebook’s David Marcus explained why the social media giant should be given a green light to expand ambitiously into global finance with its Libra cryptocurrency. You’d be forgiven, watching the dueling livestreams, for thinking you’d stumbled across portals into a pair of parallel universes.

Gregory Barber covers cryptocurrency, blockchain, and artificial intelligence for WIRED.

For now, it’s Europe leading the antitrust charge. European Union regulators have recently revealed a flurry of actions against US tech companies, starting last month with an investigation into chipmaker Broadcom over whether it used exclusivity agreements to fend off competitors. Then, this week, Margrethe Vestager, the top EU antitrust official, said Amazon was next on deck, over concerns that its sales strategy for branded products penalized independent merchants who sell through its site. Now Vestager has followed up with a major fine against a familiar target of European regulators: Qualcomm.

On Thursday, the European Commission said it would fine the US chipmaker €242 million ($273 million) for violating EU antitrust laws. It has to do with a relatively old battle. The EU says that, between 2009 and 2011, Qualcomm sold its 3G chipsets below cost in an attempt to force a British competitor, Icera, out of the market. According to the ruling, it proceeded strategically, luring the Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and ZTE with too-good-to-be-true prices as they sought to grow their business in Europe.

Qualcomm’s market dominance has made it a prime target for regulators. The commission, which opened its in

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