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European Commission Fines Philips, Pioneer, Asus, and Denon & Marantz over Price Fixing

The four domestic applicance companies received a €111 million European Commission fine for attempting to hike online sales prices.

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We often write on these pages about the European Commission's push back against . The regulatory body sees tech companies has dangerous in terms of market dominance and monopolizing practices. For the most part, this has been against giants like , , , and .

However, today the European Commission announced it has fined four leading consumer electronics brands. Philips, Pioneer, Asus, and Denon & Marantz have been fined a combined €111 million. EU members believe the companies fix online resale prices.

Each of the four companies originally faced a higher penalty, but all agreed to work with the EU. After concessions, the European Commission reduced the fine.

EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, fresh off hitting Google with a record $5 billion fine, released a statement detailing the case. She says the four manufacturers fixed prices and customers were forced to pay more for goods. Philips, Pioneer, Asus, and Denon & Marantz make household domestic appliances and electronics devices.

“This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. Our decisions today show that EU competition rules serve to protect consumers where companies stand in the way of more price competition and better choice,” said Vestager.

Each company took part in “fixed or minimum resale price maintenance (RPM)”. By pressuring online retailers, the manufacturers prevented prices from becoming low.

Asus was found to be the biggest offender and received a fine of €63.5 million. The company was accused of fixing prices in Germany and France between 2011 and 2014.

Google Fine

As mentioned, the EU has taken a dim view on market problems caused by tech companies. Last week the Commission handed Google its second record antitrust fine.

The European Commission says the fine regards three restrictions Google placed on Android device OEMs. Under European laws the restrictions break antitrust regulations.

Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, said the company is monopolizing search:

“Our case is about three types of restrictions that Google has imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine. In this way, Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine.”

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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