In one of several antitrust investigations launched today, the European Commission has begun probing tech brands ASUS, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer for suspected price manipulation. As the press release explains, the Commission believes the companies may have broken competition rules by stopping online retailers in Europe from setting their own prices for products including household appliances, laptops and hi-fi equipment. The companies also stand accused of potentially influencing price tags on a broader scale, since many retailers use software that automatically changes product pricing based on what competitors are offering.
The European Commission isn't able to share any more information on the investigations at this time, but for Philips at least, it wasn't unexpected. A company spokesperson tells us a preliminary probe into alleged pricing restrictions began in 2013 and "we continue to engage and cooperate fully with the European Commission" as it becomes a more formal enquiry. We've reached out to all the other companies named for their take on the antitrust investigation, and will update you when we hear back.
Update: ASUS has posted a short, routine statement on the Taiwan Stock Exchange: "We are proactively collaborating with authorities on the investigation and cannot comment on the matter as it proceeds."