EU issues interim antitrust order against Broadcom until probe ends
US chipmaker Broadcom has been ordered to halt exclusivity deals with six TV and modem makers for up to three years until EU antitrust enforcers finish investigating the agreements, which could be aimed at thwarting rivals.
The European competition authorities are carrying out a probe into the business of Broadcom and potential anti-competitive practices. The European Commission warned Broadcom in June of possible interim measures.
Contentious practices included tying rebates or other benefits to exclusive or minimum-purchase requirements.
Broadcom said it would comply with the order but that it would also launch an appeal in the European courts.
“We do not believe that these provisions have a meaningful effect on whether the customers choose to purchase Broadcom products,” the company said, adding that the order would not have a material impact on its businesses.
“The principal effect of the Commission’s decision will be to disrupt the efficiencies that Broadcom and European OEMs have achieved through strategic alignment,” management added, referring to TV and modem makers.
Regarding the crackdown on tech giants, commissioner Margrethe Vestager suggested she may be more willing to take temporary but rapid action against firms deemed to be abusing their dominance rather than wait for investigations to be finalised.
“It doesn’t necessarily say that now we have all cases lined up where interim measures will be used but it means that the tool is on the table,” Vestager told a news conference
“And if we find cases that live up to the two things that have to be fulfilled at the same time, yes, we will indeed use interim measures more often."