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September 4, 2014

European Union fines chipmakers over price fixing

Commission claims that anyone harmed by group can seek compensation by appealing in the European court.

By CBR Staff Writer

European Union regulators have imposed $181m in fines on Samsung, Philips, Renesas and Infineon for fixing the price of smartcard chips in the European Market.

Smartcard chips are used in many of the mobile phones, passport, bank cards and pay television cards that are used across Europe.

The European Commission claims that the companies exchanged sensitive information regarding customers, pricing and products between September 2003 and September 2005.

Joaquín Almunia, the European Commission vice president in charge of competition policy, said: "It is crucial that the companies producing (the chips) focus their efforts on how to outperform their competitors by innovating and providing the best products at the most attractive prices."

"If instead companies choose to collude, at the expense of both customers and end consumers, they should expect sanctions."

Infineon is planning to appeal at the European Union’s general court in Luxembourg, with Philips also planning to appeal the decision.

Samsung will have to pay €35m, 30% less than what it was originally fined, as the company cooperated with the authorities, but Philips will have to pay €20m and Infineon €82m.

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Renesas technology was also fined but received a reprieve because it revealed the existence of the dealings amongst the companies.

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