“These well-known manufacturers of consumer electronics, they put pressure on online retailers to maintain higher prices. They did so during a period from 2011 and 2015”, said Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for competition commissioner, in a press conference Tuesday.
A fine of 111 million euros (or $130 million) followed and in the receiving end were four big names: Philips, Pioneer, Asus and Denon & Marantz. According to the EU, they all limited the ability of online retailers to attach the price-labels they saw fit to the products. Additionally, they all reportedly threatened online retailers and sanctioned them to use the prices they suggested.
“As a result of the actions taken by these four companies, millions of European consumers faced higher prices for kitchen appliances, hair dryers, notebook computers, headphones and many other products”, Margrethe Vestager said. The Commissioner also added that such behaviour is “illegal under EU antitrust rules”.
Because of the cooperation with the regulators, all four companies saw their fines lowered between 40 and 50 percent. The final fines were: Philips with 29.8 million euros, Pioneer with 10.2 million euros, ASUS at 63.5 million euros, and Denon & Marantz with 7.7 million euros.