File photo Photograph:( Others )
The European Union's anti-trust authority ordered United States chipmaker Broadcom to immediately halt certain practices
The European Union's powerful anti-trust authority on Wednesday ordered United States chipmaker Broadcom to immediately halt certain practices, in an unprecedented salvo against US big tech.
The European Commission took the extremely rare move of ordering the interim changes from one of Silicon Valley's pioneer companies while the EU's investigation was still underway, citing the "irreparable" threats to competition.
"Broadcom's behaviour is likely, in the absence of intervention, to create serious and irreversible harm to competition," the EU's Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
"We have strong indications that Broadcom, the world's leading supplier of chipsets used for TV set-top boxes and modems, is engaging in anticompetitive practices," she said.
With the order, Vestager significantly stepped up her scrutiny of US tech giants, where investigations usually dragged on for years before companies were fined or ordered into compliance.
The ongoing investigation centres on Broadcom's highly popular TV and modem chipsets, devices that offer television and internet access to customers at home or work.
The commission said it has obtained information that Broadcom may be requiring firms to buy only its components or granting them rebates and other advantages if they buy high quantities.
The commission said it had also heard Broadcom maybe bundling products or deliberately undermining the "interoperability" between Broadcom products and other products.
The commission in June sent a "statement of objections on interim measures" to Broadcom requiring it to swiftly stop such alleged practices.