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Mobile phone chip supplier Qualcomm faces US anti-corruption probe

Warwick Ashford

US anti-corruption authorities are investigating mobile phone chip supplier Qualcomm’s compliance with the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The Act makes it illegal to bribe foreign government officials to assist in obtaining business.

Qualcomm chief executive Paul Jacobs said he believes the chip manufacturer complies with the anti-corruption law and will co-operate with the investigation.

In a regulatory filing reporting its fiscal first quarter earnings, Qualcomm said the Securities and Exchange Commission was also investigating the matter, according to the Financial Times.

Qualcomm's audit committee said it had carried out its own investigation and had found no errors in Qualcomm’s financial statements.

This week, Qualcomm reported $4.68bn in sales for the last quarter, up 40% on the same period in 2010. It also raised its revenue guidance for its fiscal year, from $18bn-$19bn, to $18.7bn-$19.7bn.

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, Qualcomm announced plans to compete with Intel in the laptop chip market with its S4 Snapdragon processor, based on designs by UK chip firm ARM.

In turn, PC chip-maker Intel unveiled plans at the CES to move into Qualcomm’s territory, with a Lenovo mobile phone featuring its Z2460 Atom (Medfield) processors going on sale in China in the first half of the year.

Qualcomm plans to tap into the compatibility of Windows 8 with ARM, and said 20 manufacturers had more than 70 designs in the pipeline for devices that are not mobile phones using its S4 Snapdragon processors.

The mobile phone chip-maker demonstrated a tablet computer and a Lenovo television that run its chips at CES.

Qualcomm said it is talking to PC makers about building thin and light computers with long battery life that will challenge the new ultrabook category.


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