U.S. regulators on Friday announced an anti-trust settlement with Broadcom, a Silicon Valley chipmaker, which was accused of abusing its dominance in the set-top boxes market, used for streaming television services and the internet. According to Federal Trade Commission, Broadcom pressured Charter, AT&T, Comcast, and other service providers, into an agreement that inhibits them from buying chips from its competitors.
"Today's action is a step in addressing the problem of monopoly by pushing back the crude tactics of a monopolist in key markets for critical broadband components," said Helly Vedova, acting director of FTC Bureau of Competition. An FTC-approved complaint settlement order requires Broadcom to no longer make customers' components exclusively from the company. "While we do not believe our actions have violated the law and we disagree with the FTC's characterizations of our business, we hope to move on from that," Broadcom said in response to an AFP inquiry. The company headquartered in San Jose, California, said the consent order worked out with U.S. regulators is similar to an agreement announced with the European Commission late last year for the same chips. Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said that at the same time, the manufacturers of set-top boxes and internet modems, telecom operators, cables operators, and consumers would benefit from increased competition among chip manufacturers. "We are pleased to be resolving this broadband problem with the FTC on terms broadly similar to our previous agreement with the E.C. for the same products," said Broadcom. “We're also pleased that the FTC investigations into our other businesses have been completed without further action.” The chairman of the commission, Lina Khan, did not participate in the vote to approve the settlement agreement with Broadcom, according to the FTC.