September 9, 2014

European Commission Slaps Smart Card Chips Cartel With Fines

A View from Constantine Cannon’s London Office

By Irene Fraile

The European Commission has imposed fines totaling 138 million euros on smart card chips producers Infineon, Philips and Samsung for breaching European Union antitrust laws that prohibit cartels.

According to the Commission, from September 2003 to September 2005, the companies engaged in a cartel to restrain competition relating to the smart card chips used in mobile telephone SIM cards, bank cards, identity cards, passports, pay TV cards, and various other applications.  The cartel used a network of bilateral contacts in order to coordinate responses to customers’ requests to lower prices and, ultimately, keep prices up.  The companies discussed and exchanged sensitive commercial information on pricing, customers, contract negotiations and production capacity, thereby damaging competition by reducing uncertainty concerning future behavior in the market.

Although some of the cartelists took measures to conceal the collusion, one of them – Renesas (a joint venture between Hitachi and Mitsubishi) – finally blew the whistle and revealed the existence of the cartel to the antitrust authorities under the Commission’s Leniency Programme.  As a result, Renesas received full immunity and avoided a fine of more than 51 million euros.  Samsung, which also cooperated with the investigation, received a 30 percent reduction in the level of its fine in return for its cooperation.

click here for more »

Leave a comment »

Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, International Competition Issues

    August 6, 2014

    China Ramps Up Antitrust Enforcement With Second Round Of Raids Of Microsoft Today 

    Why you should take notice if you do business in China

    By Aymeric Dumas-Eymard

    Almost six years to the day after China began enforcing its Antimonopoly Law (“AML”), China’s antitrust authorities are marking the anniversary with a bang as they followed up last week’s raids of U.S. software giant Microsoft with a second round of raids today.

    China’s antitrust regulator the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”) announced on its website today that it was following up last week’s raids of Microsoft’s offices in China with new raids of the software giant and its partner in China, Accenture PLC.  SAIC stated that it raided Microsoft offices in Beijing, Liaoning, Fujian and Hubei.  The SAIC also raided the Dalian offices of Accenture, which performs financial work for Microsoft.

    Today’s raids follow up on SAIC’s raids of July 28, 2014, in which more than 100 law enforcement officers raided Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu.  The antitrust enforcers reportedly questioned Microsoft executives and seized documents, electronic data (including emails) and computers.

    click here for more »

    Leave a comment »

    Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, International Competition Issues

      June 16, 2014

      EU General Court Upholds Record 1.06 Billion Euro Antitrust Fine Against Intel

      A View from Constantine Cannon’s London Office

      By Irene Fraile

      The General Court of the European Union has dismissed Intel’s appeal of the European Commission´s decision fining the computer chip manufacturer a record 1.06 billion euros for breaching EU competition law.

      The European Commission imposed the fine on Intel in May 2009, after finding that Intel abused its dominant position in the x86 CPU microprocessors market by attempting to foreclose Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), its main rival, between 2002 and 2007.

      According to the Commission’s complaint, which was filed in 2000, Intel (a) had conditioned rebates to strategically important customers on their agreeing to source all, or almost all, of their supplies from Intel, and (b) had paid certain customers (HP, Acer, Lenovo) to halt, delay or limit the launch of specific products incorporating chips from AMD. The Commission also concluded that Intel had attempted to conceal these anticompetitive practices, which formed part of a long-term strategy to squeeze AMD out of the market.

      click here for more »

      Leave a comment »

      Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

        June 9, 2014

        Container Shipping Companies Seek To Steer Clear Of European Antitrust Shoals

        A View from Constantine Cannon’s London Office

        By Natalia Mikolajczyk and Richard Pike

        Major container shipping companies are attempting to resolve the European Commission’s antitrust probe into their practice of publicly announcing price increases.

        The two biggest players in the container shipping market, A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S and Mediterranean Shipping Company, hope to end the proceedings without paying any fines, according to news reports.

        Since 2009, container liner shipping companies have been publicly announcing their plans to increase prices, often through press releases available on company websites.  Between 2009 and 2013, carriers on the benchmark Asia-to-Europe route gave advance notice, via press release, of at least 34 rate increases.  These announcements, which were made several times a year, included information on the amount of the rate increase and the date of implementation.

        click here for more »

        Leave a comment »

        Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, International Competition Issues

          May 16, 2014

          European Commissioner Rebuffs German CEO’s Criticisms Of Google Search Engine Settlement

          A View from Constantine Cannon’s London Office

          By Michael Petrides

          The European Commission’s Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, is strongly defending the EC from charges that its proposed settlement with Google concerning search engine practices would permit Google to expand its dominant market position.

          Commissioner Alumina’s defense of the proposed settlement joins a debate with Matthias Döpfner, CEO of German publishing giant Axel Springer.

          This blog commented in February on Google’s proposed commitments to settle its long-running antitrust case with the EC over its search engine practices. In the meantime, and before the commitments have been “market tested,” Döpfner has launched a scathing attack against the antitrust regulator.

          click here for more »

          Leave a comment »

          Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, International Competition Issues

            « Previous Entries   Next Entries »






            © 2009-2014 Constantine Cannon LLP. Attorney Advertising. Disclaimer.