The European Commission has announced a formal investigation into Broadcom, a US chipmaker, regarding alleged abuse of a dominant position in the markets for modem and television chipsets.

In doing so, the European Commission has indicated that it intends to impose interim measures to restrain any exclusionary practices the chipmaker may be engaging in.

This is the first time in 18 years that the European Commission has made use of its powers to impose interim measures. The European Commission has preliminarily found that the use of interim measures may be indispensable in ensuring the effectiveness of any final decision in its Broadcom investigation.

The move is likely to be celebrated by some, as many commentators have been raising concerns relating to the slow speed of enforcement of competition law by the European Commission. It may also be a sign of things to come, as the competition watchdog seeks to tackle competition problems in digital markets effectively.

The European Commission’s press release can be found here.