Menu
EU fines optical drive cartel for colluding against Dell and HP

EU fines optical drive cartel for colluding against Dell and HP

The European Commission has fined an eight-member cartel €116 million for colluding on tenders to supply optical drives to Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

Buyers of Dell and Hewlett-Packard PCs may have paid over the odds for their optical drives as a result of a cartel arrangement between eight component manufacturers.

The European Commission fined the eight cartel members a total of €116 million (US$132 million) for colluding between 2004 and 2008 to fix the prices of bids to supply optical drives to Dell and HP.

Philips, Lite-On and their joint venture Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions got away scot-free for their role in revealing the cartel. Had they not turned in their co-conspirators, they would have had to pay fines totalling €64 million between them.

But the other five member, Hitachi-LG Digital Storage, Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology, Sony, Sony OptiArc and Quanta Storage, must together pay €116 million, with Hitachi-LG and Toshiba Samsung paying the largest shares.

The fines are for breaching EU antitrust rules by coordinating their behaviour on procurement tenders to supply optical disc drives to HP and Dell between June 2004 and November 2008.

The cartel members went out of their way to escape detection by EU authorities, conducting as much of their business as possible outside of Europe and in person, meeting in parking lots and cinemas. They avoided naming one another in emails, using abbreviations or codenames.

Not all the companies were involved for the full duration of the cartel, some joining for as little as one year. Sony and Philips only colluded on tenders organised by Dell.

The eight companies told one another their bidding strategies, and exchanged the responses they received to their tenders from Dell and HP as they sought to avoid aggressive competition.

"Millions of EU citizens use devices integrating optical disc drives all the time," said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said, adding that it is important to keep these markets competitive.

Optical drive pricing is less important now, as today's ultralight laptops often do not have them, and modern operating systems such as Windows 10 and OS X allow for installation of many apps and even entire OS upgrades direct from online app stores.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments