The commission is particularly focused on Broadcom chipsets for modems and TV set-top boxes, and it intends to impose an interim ban on the alleged exclusivity measures to avoid any risk of serious and irreparable harm to competition, says Margrethe Vestager, the commission’s competition policy leader
Broadcom is also under investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission over similar concerns.
Bloomberg reported last month that the FTC was investigating anti-competitive practices around the company’s Wi-Fi and Ethernet chips, amplifying an inquiry that began more than a year earlier.
The European Commission says that agreements between Broadcom and seven of its main customers making set-top boxes and modems contain exclusivity agreements that may result in them only purchasing select components, like Wi-Fi chipsets, only from Broadcom. That agreement could stifle innovation in these markets, to the detriment of consumers, the commission writes.
Broadcom said it disagrees with the commission’s allegations. “Broadcom believes it complies with European competition rules and that the commission’s concerns are without merit,” the company wrote in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Broadcom said it has been in discussion with the commission for months already and will continue to cooperate with the investigation.