EU probing an alleged cartel among 13 optical drives makers

The European Union has just announced the start of a new, thorough investigations against 13 different producers of optical disk drives (ODD), sending a “Statement of Objections” to what are considered “suspected participants in a cartel for the supply of computer CD and DVD drives” in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Brussels doesn’t name the companies accused of monopolistic behaviour yet, stating that the suppliers of ODD units for server, desktop and portable computers (laptops) “may have coordinated their behaviour in bidding events organised by two major original equipment manufacturers”.

According to preliminary findings from the EU, the 13 suppliers “engaged for at least five years in bid rigging, which is one of the most serious breaches of EU antitrust rules” and “affected customers that bought optical disk drives manufactured by the companies concerned”.

The European Commission explains that the sending a statement of objections is a formal step in starting a comprehensive investigation on the matter, a step needed to inform the parties concerned and to give them the chance to appear before the Commission to present their comments.

If found guilty of anti-competitive behaviour, the Commission explains, the yet-to-be-named companies could face a huge fine amounting to up to 10% of their annual worldwide turnover.

Source: European Union Press Release

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aviator189 said,
the eu can go probe themselves.

incredible comment, you sir, just made! full of passion and speeking just the truth, no one can pass without seeing this amazing sentence and feel joy and enlightenment!

unless you realize that the EU is protecting the consumers, not the organizations that commit illegal activities, that is.

aviator189 said,
the eu can go probe themselves.

Step aside people of the internet, we have a bad a** here who loves paying too much!

Is that your definition of corporate freedom?
Cool, what do you think we should do when they decide to well... raise prices by 25-50%?
And stick with that?
You know... similar to HDD prices, which could be where they were again, if it wasn't for Seagate and Western Digital buying competitors and "agreeing" on leaving the prices where they conveniently happen to have sprung to during the Thai flooding.
Oh, what do you say? They lowered them again a bit?
How very kind of them! And still way over one year ago I payed 30 bucks less on my 3TB drive, which is about 20% of what the price is in total.
Yummy, if you take into account that prices usually drop over time in technology, you could say this is a probable raise of at least 30% compared to today's prices if no flood and price fixing had happened.

Well... at least the big corps get enough money, right?
They are starving!

GS:mac

Neowin has a long history of hating the EU doing this... for no reason. I mean, nobody's eyebrows are raised when the DoJ or whichever department in the US conducts similar investigations.

Julius Caro said,
Neowin has a long history of hating the EU doing this... for no reason. I mean, nobody's eyebrows are raised when the DoJ or whichever department in the US conducts similar investigations.

Odd, Neowin is owned by europeans...

Julius Caro said,
Neowin has a long history of hating the EU doing this... for no reason. I mean, nobody's eyebrows are raised when the DoJ or whichever department in the US conducts similar investigations.
Mostly due to the fact the the US DoJ doesn't do similar investigations on most things. You must not live in America if you think corporations and politicians are separate entities.

And yet people still accuse the EU of unfairly targeting US companies. The reality is that the EU has a much tougher stance on anti-competitive business practices than other countries and regions, which is understandable given the widespread abuse of the free market.

Colluding to fix prices and influence the market is bad for the consumer.

The European Union: fighting antitrust battles in outdated industries. Which will be even more out-of-date once the antitrust probe is complete, and once the court cases have run through their appeals.

TomJones said,
The European Union: fighting antitrust battles in outdated industries. Which will be even more out-of-date once the antitrust probe is complete, and once the court cases have run through their appeals.
Well if they drop the price of blu-ray burners, I'm all for it!

TomJones said,
The European Union: fighting antitrust battles in outdated industries. Which will be even more out-of-date once the antitrust probe is complete, and once the court cases have run through their appeals.
Just because it's "outdated" doesn't mean they weren't doing something illegal. This affected a lot of customers and if you were one of them I'm sure you wouldn't be happy.

Tekkerson said,
Just because it's "outdated" doesn't mean they weren't doing something illegal. This affected a lot of customers and if you were one of them I'm sure you wouldn't be happy.

Additionally, it will set a precedent if similar things are done to more current parts, like HDDs, SSDs, etc.

TomJones said,
The European Union: fighting antitrust battles in outdated industries. Which will be even more out-of-date once the antitrust probe is complete, and once the court cases have run through their appeals.

I don't think you realise how much extra money they've made by keeping prices say, even, $1 higher then they should be (this number could even be higher then this). Think of all of the devices in the world that get shipped with an optical drive - PCs, CD players, DJ Turntables, CCTV DVRs, Games Consoles, TV Combis, and much more - and these amount to probably half a billion sales total at least, if not 3/4bil - which amounts to an extra $750mil in their pocket due to illegal practices.

TomJones said,
The European Union: fighting antitrust battles in outdated industries. Which will be even more out-of-date once the antitrust probe is complete, and once the court cases have run through their appeals.
Outdated? Aside from Apple's fail - how many devices come with optical drives in them? What storage format lasts forever if treated properly? Not SSD's or HDD's that's for sure.

Of course there's also the fact that you don't go 'buy a flash drive' you buy a CD, if you're getting music. Also you don't 'buy a HDD' you buy a DVD or Blu-Ray. Do you inset a flash drive into your Xbox or PS3? No? Thought so.

Please inform me how optical drives are 'outdated'. Sure, Blu-ray is the only real advancement lately but nevertheless it's not outdated.

KCRic said,
Outdated? Aside from Apple's fail - how many devices come with optical drives in them? What storage format lasts forever if treated properly? Not SSD's or HDD's that's for sure.

Of course there's also the fact that you don't go 'buy a flash drive' you buy a CD, if you're getting music. Also you don't 'buy a HDD' you buy a DVD or Blu-Ray. Do you inset a flash drive into your Xbox or PS3? No? Thought so.

Please inform me how optical drives are 'outdated'. Sure, Blu-ray is the only real advancement lately but nevertheless it's not outdated.

"out-dated" != "extinct"

In his scenario, it probably goes like this:
Music = iTunes/Amazon MP3/Pandora/Spotify/...
Movies = iTunes/Netflix Streaming/Hulu/...
Games = Console digital stores/Steam/...

You CAN avoid optical discs nowadays.

On another note: no consumer grade disc lasts NEARLY as long as our lifespans even.
Whatever you treat them like.

Apple's fail? AFAIK the lighter portables profit from losing the disc drive, if anything, you still can get an external drive, heck make it a DVD burner for under 100 bucks.
I see why they are going there, I'm like you, I don't want optical media to disappear, because they hold some value, you can "hold them in your hands".
You can actually PHYSICALLY gift great movies, games or music.
Digital downloads feel so awkward.

I like putting my stuff in my shelves!

However, the terminology "out-dated" probably UNFORTUNATELY applies correctly.
As I said, "out-dated" != "not used".
It can even be commonly used and be out-dated.
Some people would argue the x86 architecture is out-dated.
I don't know enough to judge that, just saying how that term doesn't reflect the real world market shares, just it's technical "freshness".

GS:mac

Edited by Glassed Silver, Jul 24 2012, 8:10pm :

Just because YOU think something is outdated, doesn't mean it is. And if for a moment you think streaming games, especially in the US, is the future -- keep dreaming. ISPs are not interested in upgrading and the media 'industry' will fight it to the end.