PC maker Asus is facing a $ 74 million fine in Europe for threatening online retailers to keep the company’s laptop prices up.
On Tuesday, the European Commission levied fines against Asus and three other electronics makers, Phillips, Pioneer, and Denon & Marantz, for price fixing in the e-commerce market.
All four companies restricted online retailers from setting low prices on their products, a violation of EU competition rules. In the case of Asus, the PC maker tried to prevent the resale prices of computer hardware such as notebooks and displays from dropping.
“Many, including the biggest online retailers, use pricing algorithms which automatically adapt retail prices to those of competitors,” the European Commission noted. As a result, if one retailer cut prices, then all might follow. So to stop this, Asus threatened to pull supplies from any online retailers caught selling company hardware below a certain price, the European Commission said.
“The price interventions limited effective price competition between retailers and led to higher prices with an immediate effect on consumers,” it added. Asus’s price fixing occurred between 2011 and 2014, in both Germany and France.
Asus told the Taipei Times that the company is going to pay the fine. The European Commission decided to reduce the penalty because Asus cooperated with the investigation into the price fixing, which was originally announced in February 2017.
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To prevent future price fixing, the PC maker is going to better train employees to avoid using anti-competitive practices.
Of the four companies penalized, Asus is facing the biggest fine. Phillips must pay $ 35 million for price fixing involving a variety of products including coffee machines, vacuum cleaners, and electric toothbrushes.