The European Commission is out for blood these days when it comes to gaming. Although not entirely related to the likes of loot crates, ASUS has been fined over €63 million. The European Commission has had ASUS fined after the company took part in some price fixing online. This, of course, broke European antitrust laws at the same time. Alongside ASUS, Phillips, Pioneer, and Denon & Marantz have also received smaller fines, for similar reasons.
Price fixing doesn’t sound great. Indeed, the European Commission explained that each of the three companies took part in “fixed or minimum resale price maintenance.” Essentially, ASUS and the three companies above are guilty of trying to control the prices of its products online. To do so, ASUS was threatening to limit access to stock and preventing them from selling monitors and such under the recommended price. ASUS were caught price fixing its products, including monitors and laptops, between 2011-2014.
The Commissioner Vestager of the European Commission explained:
“If a manufacturer noticed that a particular online retailer was offering lower prices than they wanted, they would contact the retailer to tell them to increase their prices. And if that retailer did not cooperate, it would face sanctions. These sanctions included, for example, withdrawing the supplies of the products in question.”
ASUS was found guilty of price fixing and breaking antitrust laws in France and Germany, with Philips in France and Denon & Marantz in Germany and the Netherlands. Pioneer, meanwhile, was found to be breaking these laws in 12 countries throughout Europe. Due to co-operation, however, all four companies were granted a 40% reduction in fines. Between the four companies, €111 million is to be paid out in fines.
The European Commission doesn’t mess around when it comes to fines. Price fixing is a serious issue, however, and individual retailers should be allowed to charge what they want within reason.
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