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Policy

EU Signals Tougher Approach to Tech Companies

The EU’s top tech and competition regulator is intensifying the already significant pressure the bloc is applying to technology companies.

Margrethe Vestager will order U.S. chipmaker Broadcom to stop making its customers use only Broadcom chips, before the EU’s investigation into the alleged anti-competitive behavior by the company is complete. She’s using an obscure administrative tool that hasn’t been applied in almost two decades, according to the Financial Times. 

Broadcom is certain to immediately appeal the order applying so-called interim measures to stop practices the EU has alleged are anti competitive. 

Vestager’s Dusting off interim measures is a sign European regulators intend to go after tech companies even more vigorously than in the past. But it’s also a recognition the EU’s practice of investigating and fining U.S. tech companies, a process that usually takes years, hasn’t reined them in. 

If the EU’s court system upholds her use of interim measures, it would be a wakeup call for U.S. tech giants, which at least in some cases appear to have come to regard fighting the EU in court and paying billion dollar fines as simply the cost of doing business.

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