by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) Dec 20, 2012
The EU will set out its case against Samsung Electronics "very soon" following an anti-trust probe of the smartphone and mobile tablet market, Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Thursday.
"We will adopt a statement of objections very soon," Almunia said, meaning a document detailing the EU competition watchdog's possible objections.
"I don't know if it is at the end of this year or the beginning of next year," he said, adding that "we are on the last last steps of our internal procedures."
The Commission opened a probe in January on whether the South Korean tech giant was abusing its market position by seeking bans on sales of products made by its competitors in several European countries, alleging they were illegally using its patents.
Samsung said this week it would drop a legal request to ban Apple products in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands but would maintain lawsuits for alleged patent infringement.
Commenting on Samsung's decision to withdraw the requests, Almunia said: "We are very happy with this because one of the most important objections that we have when dealing with holders of standard essential patents is their possible abuses using their ownership (of patents)."
Samsung overtook Nokia as the top mobile phone brand for 2012 and has opened up a decisive lead over Apple in the smartphone market, market research firm IHS iSuppli said earlier this week.
EU decision on Microsoft probe close: Almunia
"We are close to our decision. It could be one of the first anti-trust decisions in 2013," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.
"Microsoft recognises that they were not implementing properly the binding commitments" it made in 2011-12 when it introduced its Windows 7 system, Almunia noted.
Microsoft apologised for what it said was a "technical error" on Windows 7 as the EU launched a probe in July into why 28 million users were unable to choose between the company's default Internet Explorer and other browsers.
The Commission charges the company with failing to offer a browser choice on Windows 7 between February 2011 and July 2012, when the company has said it remedied the problem.
Under EU law, a company found to have breached commitments made to resolve competition cases can face a fine of up to 10 percent of annual sales.
The EU fined Microsoft 899 million euros in 2008, subsequently reduced to 860 million euros, for failing to comply with an order to share product information with rivals so that their software could work with Windows.
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