Feeds

EC antitrust cops raid offices of Philips, Samsung, others

Suspected anticompetitive practices under investigation

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

EU antitrust regulators have raided the European offices of Philips, Samsung, retail group Media-Saturn, and several other consumer electronics companies, but so far they're not saying what they were looking for.

"The European Commission can confirm that on 3 December 2013, Commission officials initiated unannounced inspections in several Member States at the premises of a number of companies active in the manufacture, distribution and retail of consumer electronics products and small domestic appliances," EU authorities announced on Thursday.

Although the EC did not make public the names of the companies it was investigating as a matter of policy, both Philips and Samsung confirmed to the BBC on Friday that they were among the targets of the raids, and both said they were cooperating with authorities.

As for what it's all about, however, that's anyone's guess. So far, the EC has only said that the investigation involves possible anticompetitive practices related to e-commerce.

"The Commission has grounds to suspect that the companies subject to the inspections may have put in place restrictions on online sales of consumer electronic products and small domestic appliances," Friday's press release explains. "These restrictions, if proven, may lead to higher consumer prices or the unavailability of products through certain online sales channels."

This isn't the first time these and other tech companies have been suspected of anticompetitive behavior in recent months. In May, Dell named Philips, Samsung, and five other electronics companies in a US complaint alleging a conspiracy to fix the prices of optical drives. HP filed a similar suit in October.

It's not clear whether the EC's current investigation also involves optical drives, but the mention of online sales would seem to suggest the European authorities are looking at practices close to the retail channel.

There was no word on what the regulators' next steps might be or how long such an investigation might last.

"Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned co-operate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence," the EC's statement said. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.