From an online Forum, can't vouch for its accuracy, its somewhat dated but not widely published...
Glad to leave behind this horrid background vibe that we have been screwed by cynical corporations for years.
"The European Commission has imposed a total of €74,790,000 fines on Sony, Fuji and Maxell for fixing prices for professional videotapes sold to
customers in Europe. The commission found there to be a violation of the EC
Treaty's ban on cartels and restrictive business practices. Competition
Commissioner Neelie Kroes said, "This decision sends two warnings to
companies engaging in cartel activities: first, the Commission can prosecute
cartels effectively even without prompts from immunity applicants, and
second, obstructing a Commission's antitrust investigation leads to severe
penalties." Adrian Pennington reports.
The Commission started an investigation on its own initiative with surprise
inspections, carried out at the premises of Sony's, Fuji's and Maxell's
European subsidiaries in May 2002. The cartel covers the two most popular
professional videotape formats at the time of the infringement: Betacam SP
and Digital Betacam, which in 2001 totaled annual sales of some €115 million
in the European Economic Area (EEA).
The EC found that Sony, Fuji and Maxell, with a combined share of more than
85% of the professional VT market, organised three successful rounds of
price increases and endeavoured to stabilise prices whenever an increase was
not possible. They also regularly monitored the implementation of the price
Between 1999 and 2002, Sony, Fuji and Maxell managed to raise or otherwise
control prices through a series of regular meetings and other illicit
contacts. Sony's fine has been increased by 30% for obstructing the
Commission's investigation during on-site inspections at its premises.
Fuji's and Maxell's fines are reduced by 40% and 20% respectively because
they co-operated with the investigation under the Commission's 2002 Leniency Notice."