The German, Dutch and South Korean companies "colluded" between 2003 and 2005 to fix prices on the chips, which are widely used in mobile phones, bank cards and passports, the
Rejecting the allegations as "unfounded,"
The companies "in our view knew that their conduct was illegal," said
They "discussed and exchanged sensitive commercial information on pricing, customers, contract negotiations, production capacity or capacity utilisation and their future market conduct," the commission said.
Almunia added that "in this digital era smart card chips are used by almost everybody, whether in their mobile phones, bank cards or passports."
Companies producing them should be focused on being competitive, he said, adding: "If instead companies choose to collude, at the expense of both customers and end consumers, they should expect sanctions."
The commission said that Renesas and its joint-venture parent companies
It said that Philips "remains liable for what happened during the period of infringement" even though it has since divested its smart card chips business.
Anyone harmed by the cartel may seek damages before the courts of the European member states, the commission said.
The EU has previously fined US computer chip giant
Earlier this year
Hispanic #1 Breaking News for Entrepreneurs, Professionals and Small Business Owners - HispanicBusiness.com
OCTOBER 30, 2014
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