Feeds

EU raids smart card chipmakers

(More) suspicions of price fixing

Top three mobile application threats

At least four makers of microchips have confirmed they were raided by European Commission investigators seeking information of collusion in the market for chips used in smart cards.

STMicroelectronics, Infineon Technologies, NXP, and Renesas Technology each said they received surprise visits from investigators in late October. All of them said they are cooperating with the investigation.

The confirmation came after the EC released a statement Wednesday saying it had carried out "unannounced inspections" of several unnamed chipmakers.

"The commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated EC treaty rules prohibiting practices such as price fixing, customer allocation and the exchange of commercially sensitive information," the statement read.

If charges are filed, it would by no means be the first time a chipmaker has been accused of burning customers by fixing the prices of its wares. Infineon has already admitted to US charges of collusion in the market for dynamic random access memory chips. Along with Samsung, Elpida, and Hynix, the Germany-based company agreed to pay more than $730m to settle the charges brought by the Department of Justice.

More recently, three Asia-based manufacturers of liquid crystal display monitors agreed to pay $585m after pleading guilty to US charges of collusion.

The EC statement said the raids are a preliminary step in its investigation. Such probes can last years and often don't lead to charges being filed. But when cases are brought and successfully prosecuted, they can result in fines as high as 10 percent of a company's annual revenue for each year of a violation. That's a lot of smart cards. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code
Slow and kludgy rollout will protect corporate profits
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.