With settlement talks stalled, the European Commission has launched a formal investigation into whether suppliers of cryptographic chips conspired to fix prices across Europe. The commission announced today that it had sent out a warning to several smart card chip suppliers that it was investigating allegations that they had …
fix prices across Europe
Fix prices across Europe, is the way to go, there is no company that would not like to do it. Perhaps there is some value in the EU, after all. Individual countries in Europe could do it too, but could they and would they.
Could individual countries in Europe have been able to deal with Microsoft without the EU.
Re: fix prices across Europe
Sounds more like a shakedown to me.
How do you tell the difference between a cartel and the market finding it's own proper pricing level? Yes, yes, you have all the theoretical economic academic stuff, but how in the real world do you tell if it is a cartel?
Answer: If you can prove meetings between vendors took place at which price points were discussed. If there aren't any such meetings, it's market, if there are, it's cartel. The problem there of course is nobody has perfect knowledge of whether such meeting occurred or if there were meetings, were they meetings to discuss interoperability standards or price setting. Which means if you are proving a cartel you basically have to have recordings of the discussions.
If you actually had the evidence of a cartel, why would you not immediately move to prosecute? You're insane if you think a negotiated settlement with no admission of wrong-doing would lead to anything other than a slightly smarter group of cartel conspirators. Hell even a conviction with hard evidence will be hard pressed to do anything other than make them smarter for next time.
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