Anti-competitive agreements refer to any arrangement or understanding between competing businesses that intend to undermine or restrict competition in the marketplace. These agreements typically involve price-fixing, bid-rigging, market allocation, and other practices that limit or eliminate competition. In this article, we will explore real-life examples of anti-competitive agreements that have been documented and prosecuted by regulators around the world.
1. Apple Inc.
Apple Inc., the tech giant, was found guilty of anti-competitive behavior in 2012. They colluded with five book publishers to prevent Amazon.com from offering lower-priced e-books. The result was higher prices for consumers. Apple was fined $450 million for their role in the collusion.
2. Microsoft Corp.
In the 1990s, Microsoft Corp. was accused of using its monopoly power to force its Internet Explorer browser on consumers, to the detriment of other browsers like Netscape. The U.S. Department of Justice sued Microsoft for anti-competitive behavior in 1998. The case eventually settled in 2001, and Microsoft was required to change some of its business practices.
3. De Beers Group
The De Beers Group, which is the world`s largest diamond company, was accused of anti-competitive behavior in 2004. They were charged with controlling the diamond market through their exclusive agreements with diamond-producing countries. The European Union fined De Beers $295 million for their anti-competitive practices.
4. Volkswagen AG
In 2016, Volkswagen AG admitted to installing software in its diesel engines that allowed them to cheat on emissions tests. This was seen as anti-competitive because it allowed Volkswagen to sell cars that appeared to meet emissions standards but in reality emitted harmful pollutants. The company has paid billions of dollars in fines and settlements as a result of the scandal.
5. Google LLC
Google LLC has faced several allegations of anti-competitive behavior over the years. In 2017, the European Union fined them $2.7 billion for favoring their own shopping comparison service over others in search results. The company has also been accused of anti-competitive practices in its Android operating system and in the advertising industry.
Anti-competitive agreements can have a significant impact on consumers and the economy as a whole. Governments around the world have established regulations to prevent such practices and hold companies accountable when they are found to engage in them. These real-life examples show the consequences that businesses face when they try to restrict competition. As a professional, it is important to keep up with the latest news and developments in this area to provide accurate and informative content to readers.