The European Commission on Wednesday fined Infineon, Philips, Samsung and Renesas over €138 million, after accusing them of coordinating their market behaviour for smart card chips.
According to the Commission, the companies colluded through bilateral contacts that took place in the period between September 2003 and September 2005, breaching EU rules prohibiting cartels.
“In this digital era smart card chips are used by almost everybody, whether in their mobile phones, bank cards or passports. It is crucial that the companies producing them 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.” said EU Commissioner for Competition Joaquín Almunia.
Smart card chips are used in mobile telephone SIM cards, bank cards, identity cards and passports, pay TV cards, and various other applications.