U.S. chip manufacturer Broadcom has been required to cease exclusivity deals with TV and modem manufacturers while EU antitrust enforcers investigate whether these deals are aimed at stopping opponents.
The European Commission had in June warned Broadcom of a possible interim move. The corporate, whose chips power smartphones, computer systems, and networking tools, is a key supplier to Apple.
The Commission said Broadcom has 30 days to comply with the order, which is valid for up to three years.
“This can stop serious and irreparable damage to competitors likely to be caused by Broadcom’s plan, which prima facie infringes EU competition guidelines,” the Commission stated.
The competition enforcer’s issues center on Broadcom’s agreements with six TV set-top box and modem manufacturers, which result in the firms buying numerous chips exclusively or semi-exclusively from the company.
Contentious practices include tying rebates or other advantages to particular or minimum-buy requirements.
Interim moves are rare and are only issued if the Commission has reason to believe that firms will squeeze out or marginalize rivals before it could wrap up its inquiries, which can take several years.