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FTC approves Broadcom anticompetitive conduct order

November 8, 2021

By Colin Mann

Following a public comment period, the US’s Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that Broadcom Inc. illegally monopolised markets for semiconductor components used to deliver television and broadband Internet services through exclusive dealing and related conduct.

According to the complaint, which was first announced in June 2021, Broadcom is a monopolist in the sale of three types of semiconductor components, or chips, used in devices that deliver television and broadband Internet services. These chips are the core circuitry that run traditional television broadcast set-top boxes, as well as DSL and fibre broadband devices. Broadcom is also one of the few significant suppliers of five related types of chips.

Under the final order, Broadcom is prohibited from entering into certain types of exclusivity or loyalty agreements with its customers for the supply of key chips for traditional broadcast set-top boxes and DSL and fibre broadband internet devices. Broadcom also must stop conditioning access to or requiring favourable supply terms for these chips on customers committing to exclusivity or loyalty for the supply of related chips. The final order prohibits Broadcom from retaliating against customers for doing business with Broadcom’s competitors.

The Commission vote to approve the final order was 3-0-1. Chair Lina M. Khan did not participate.

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