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European Union Looks Into Possible Cartel for Optical Drives

The EU is looking into collusion charges between optical disk drives makers.

July 25, 2012- The European Union’s European Commission announced on Tuesday that it has started an investigation of 13 makers of optical disk drives amidst allegations the makers participated in a cartel across the globe. The EU Commission would not reveal any company names that were involved in the investigation, but did say in a prepared statement this its suspects the companies of working together on the supply of the disk drives that are used in servers and PCs, which would be a violation of the antitrust laws in the EU.

The commission announced that two of the major disk drive OEMs headed the effort. In the same statement, the commission said it had the preliminary opinion that the companies involved engaged in bid rigging for a minimum of five years. Bid rigging is one of the EU Antitrust rules that is the most serious if breached. If the allegations are true, the scheme likely affected the retail prices of the optic disc drives.

The commission filed a statement of objections, which means the companies that have been accused can now look at the commission’s evidence, respond to it in writing and request a hearing to present each of their sides of what happened.

If the commission finds the companies guilty, a fine could be imposed of up to 10% of the worldwide annual sales. Companies that are willing to help in the investigation and give details regarding the cartel could receive smaller fines said the commission.

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