updated 04:53 pm EDT, Tue July 24, 2012
Cartel lasting five years inflated drive prices to PC OEMs
The European Commission is contacting thirteen manufacturers of optical drives over possible EU antitrust rules breaches. The EC suspects the unnamed companies of being involved in a bid-rigging cartel, artificially raising the price of optical drives during contract auctions with two major PC OEMs over the last five years. If parties are found to be breaking the rules, they face a fine of up to 10 percent of the company's worldwide turnover.
Each manufacturer will receive a Statement of Objection from the Commission, a formal step for investigations into suspected violations of EU rules prohibiting cartels and restrictive business practices. The companies involved will be able to respond to the Commission in writing and during an oral hearing before representatives, and evidence then will be gathered.
The European Commission has been dealing with a lot of different technology-related subjects in the last few months. It handed down an 860 million euro ($1.07 billion) fine against Microsoft over business practices, in a ruling that withstood the software company's appeal, before proposing major changes to music licensing, cutting mobile roaming charges, and starting an investigation into possibly regulating the "Internet of Things." [via Reuters]