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EU Issues Largest Antitrust Fine to Date for CRT TV Price Fixing

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the bad-bad-manufacturer dept.

Displays 153

hankwang writes "The European commission fined a number manufacturers for pricing fixing of cathode ray tubes in the period between 1996 and 2005. The total fine was EUR 1.47 billion (USD 1.92 billion), for Philips, LG Electronics, Samsung SDI, and three other firms. According to the European Commission: 'For almost 10 years, the cartelists carried out the most harmful anti-competitive practices including price fixing, market sharing, customer allocation, capacity and output coordination and exchanges of commercial sensitive information. The cartelists also monitored the implementation, including auditing compliance with the capacity restrictions by plant visits in the case of the computer monitor tubes cartel.'"

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People still buy tube TVs? (1, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#42192337)

Politicians don't have better things to worry about?

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (3, Insightful)

gmack (197796) | about 2 years ago | (#42192367)

If they did it once they will do it again.. (and they did)

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192401)

Better things than collecting a share of billions of dollars in illicit profits? Like what? Muslim face coverings?

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (4, Insightful)

ilguido (1704434) | about 2 years ago | (#42192407)

It's a deterrent: if none takes action they'll go on with these practices with something else (LCD, Plasma, Hard Disks... everything).

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (3, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | about 2 years ago | (#42192425)

And most of these same companies are in fact implicated in LCD price fixing.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192847)

And optical drive price fixing and Samsung for DRAM price fixing.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (1)

Splab (574204) | about 2 years ago | (#42193267)

Great, that just means they can have another go at setting record in getting huge fines.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (2)

TheLink (130905) | about 2 years ago | (#42193767)

I wish some other industries would fix prices and exploit us poor consumers the way the computer hardware industry exploits us.

Then shoes, office chairs, etc would be much cheaper, be of better quality, last at least 3-5 years on average and come with a 1-3 year warranty.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#42192895)

On one hand, the suits associated with the behaviors past, should happen. They caused damage to consumers and to product makers. But at the same time, it somehow feels like various parties are scraping for extra cash and are seeking what I would consider to be 'last resort' means and methods to get it.

It feels like someone within the upper tiers of the economy know something the rest of us don't (and that would be an economic collapse never seen before in human history) or that this is business as usual and I just never noticed it to this degree before.

I recall the tremors I felt just prior to the most recent collapse. Banks were scrambling for fees and things... charging for every little thing that might be considered a service or courtesy. They knew what was coming and all the signs I saw made perfect sense once things became public. Fortunately, my brother saw it too and shifted his 401K to bonds and stuff like that so he didn't lose out at all.

I see all these legal suits over technology as the precursor to something bigger, hairier and darker. Just not quite sure what it is just yet, but it will achieve some critical mass at some point in the near future I think. The current level of activity is certainly not sustainable.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192411)

Why bother prosecuting a murder? The victim is dead anyway!

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 2 years ago | (#42193357)

That just makes so much sense. I can't understand why no one's thought of it sooner. Think of all the prosecution costs that could be saved! ...and prison beds!

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#42193867)

I'm not dead yet, but I think my leg is broken... Could you call me an ambulance?

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42194301)

Exactly. If the murderer only intended to kill his mother, he is not a danger to anyone else and should be let free.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (1)

grumpyman (849537) | about 2 years ago | (#42192489)

1. Politicians don't initiate lawsuit like this 2. It's 1996-2005 not now 3. The alternative is let it go?

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (4, Informative)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about 2 years ago | (#42192493)

This is what governments are for, to protect the people with legislation (treaties in EU case) and uphold them. One of those being price fixing, collusion and anti-trust.

So, they upheld their treaties by punishing those that broke them. They did their job.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42192771)

This is what governments are for, to protect the people with legislation (treaties in EU case) and uphold them. One of those being price fixing, collusion and anti-trust.

So, they upheld their treaties by punishing those that broke them. They did their job.

The problem is, that the people are not protected. All of this happened back in the 90's and anyone who bought a tube monitor or TV
has already been impacted by this. But waiting 20 years to fine these guys (they are also being fined by the US, Korea, Japan), does nothing
to put money back in your pocket. It will all go to government, and be squandered on something that doesn't offset any of the tax you pay.

Meanwhile, these companies are no longer making tubes, some are near bankruptcy anyway, and the others can pay this out of chump change.

Where were these concerned government officials when everyone was selling CRTs at virtually identical prices?

 

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (4, Informative)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#42192829)

You mean those same companies that are now selling LCD TVs at virtually identical prices?

Hmmm, wonder what a huge fine for similar behavior might have?

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192971)

And to compound all that, the current Philips management says they knew nothing about it and that all the foul play was done by a part of the company that was let go years ago. (Can tell they're planning to appeal this decision? Dunno if they're going to be successful, but in any case they don't feel guilty so they'll to their utmost to avoid the judgement hitting them personally.)

The glacial pace of antitrust (1)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#42193309)

By the time the government does something, the market's already moved beyond it. Even the original grandaddy of antitrust, the Standard Oil monopoly, was only a shadow of its former self by the time the government took action. Its marketshare had been slashed in its strongest East and Midwest markets, and it was a minority in the Gulf and Western markets.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42193395)

Legal punishment is by definition retro-active. Companies need to be able to protect themselves against false accusations, and governments need to be able to actually prove their claims. This takes time. This is also why this is a fine.

As for the usage of the money: this obviously becomes part of the budget, which (in the EU case) means most of it goes back into the member states. Your wild claim about squandering is unfounded. The money goes to where it should be. Are governments inefficient? Yes. Does that mean the money disappears? No. If you know everything so well, come up with a better system and push for it to become law.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42193469)

Are governments inefficient? Yes. Does that mean the money disappears? No.

I have this bridge that I own, it crosses the Tarn valley. I would like to sell it to you.
You could pay for it out of the fees you will earn by adding toll booths.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (1)

pruss (246395) | about 2 years ago | (#42193579)

The EU press release says that people can still sue for civil remedies, as these aren't preempted by the fine, and that the EU decision can be used as a proof of fact in court. I assume there will be something like class action suits now, or does Europe not have these?

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42193885)

The EU press release says that people can still sue for civil remedies, as these aren't preempted by the fine, and that the EU decision can be used as a proof of fact in court. I assume there will be something like class action suits now, or does Europe not have these?

And with other countries piling on, the goal here is clearly to bankrupt these companies.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (1)

Elldallan (901501) | about 2 years ago | (#42195085)

If these companies earned billions in illicit profits and the people who they cheated decides to sue them all at once then yes it's quite likely but that is not a reason to not punish them. Maybe whoever replaces them will think twice about doing following in their shoes.

Personally though I don't think that will stop this sort of behavior unless you also start sentencing the CEO's, boards and other senior leadership who was running these companies at the time to long prison sentences and high fines(and preferably figure out in what bank paradises they have their cash hidden so that you can take it back )

Class Action in Europe (2)

andersh (229403) | about 2 years ago | (#42195131)

Europe is not one jurisdiction, we are still 50 separate countries, and 27 of those are within the European Union.

Those 27 countries have their own legal systems from British Common Law to German Civil Law. The EU is only a "federal" framework, the nations rule themselves. There are various forms of suits and some have "class action" options (see the EU and Collective Redress). Our national courts are far less willing or able to hand out billions of Euros. Tort in Europe in general does not result in huge personal gains.

In my jurisdiction you can only sue for actual financial losses, that were caused by the action in question. Your feelings are worthless, your lost income will be compensated, but mostly by existing public/private insurance. The difference between those figures is what the wrongdoer ends up paying.

That fact works in our citizens' favor. You can't sue your doctor or employer and expect to become a millionaire for either your own stupidity or actual wrong doing. You can have someone justly punished for their errors, but it's not about rewarding people. Doctors insurance is a lot less costly in European countries. You will be taken care of however no matter what the outcome.

Obviously it's a bit different with monopolies and price fixing, but the fines will go towards financing schools and roads etc. That's more in line with how European societies are organized.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#42192869)

That's nonsense. Governments shouldn't be in any business decisions regarding any products sold.

Governments are supposed to exist only to protect individual freedoms, of-course what the hell would people know about it today?

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about 2 years ago | (#42192959)

Aren't those precisely the things governments do?

Ask yourself which price fixing affects your life more.
Price fixing on TVs or LCDs.

Or price fixing on healthcare, education, construction...
Public sector union wages are price fixing.
Professional restrictions are also price fixing.
In places like Ontario, there is a great deal of collusion between government, insurance, and private medical providers.

I am mandated to buy extra benefits I don't need... not to protect someone else if I hit them ( a valid argument for mandated insurance), but for 'my own benefit'... or rather... the benefit of private medical providers.

Or in the case of Ontario, supply management of various industries to pricefix things like dairy and other farm items.

It seems government price fix to keep the price of things we need (food, education, healthcare, housing very high)

They don't have a leg to stand on when they accuse companies of price fixing when technology seems to move quickly and prices keep falling. There's a natural move against price fixing getting too high. If Apple was being gauged by price fixing on LCDs... they would use their muscle to demand lower prices or setup their own LCD lab...

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 2 years ago | (#42192607)

Politicians don't have better things to worry about?

Governments are set up to do more than one thing at a time. And, yes, people still use CRT TVs and monitors, and, more importantly, they still did between 1996 and 2005, the time period of the actions which are the subject of these sanctions. Major prosecutions take time.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#42193753)

Politicians don't have better things to worry about?

Governments are set up to do more than one thing at a time.

And, yes, people still use CRT TVs and monitors, and, more importantly, they still did between 1996 and 2005, the time period of the actions which are the subject of these sanctions. Major prosecutions take time.

So where is my money? I'm the one who got abused by their price fixing. Oh, i'm not going to see a dime of it? ya, figures. Like my government needs more of my money, they already proved they are war junkies.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 2 years ago | (#42193315)

Can you think of a better way to get private companies to fill the holes in the government budget?

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#42193329)

Not really. Best not to look into which hurts the common man's pocketbook more -- this cartel or the one on six people on the public dole for "stress" or "lower back pain".

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about 2 years ago | (#42193849)

Not really. Best not to look into which hurts the common man's pocketbook more -- this cartel or the one on six people on the public dole for "stress" or "lower back pain".

You know you're full of shit, right? My mom finally got SSI disability for her back problems in 2006 after 10 years, 3 back surgeries, 3 bouts with thyroid cancer, 2 weight loss surgeries paid out of pocket to treat the weight gain caused from not having a thyroid, severe adult-onset scoliosis, and countless attempts to return to work only to have to be carried out of work halfway through her shift because she couldn't sit anymore.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42193531)

People still buy tube TVs?

Not new ones. Corning, which manufactured every single commercial vacuum tube blank evar for all TV and monitor brands, stopped making them in like 2003... and dismantled the equipment. There's still old stock out there, I suppose, but its getting rare even for raster tubes. Vector monitors have all but disappeared. Good luck replacing the vector monitor in your Captain's Chair version of Sega Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator.

Re:People still buy tube TVs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42195091)

Let's ignore crime because it happened a while ago.

And now what? (3, Interesting)

ranulf (182665) | about 2 years ago | (#42192371)

How does this actually help someone who's bought a TV or monitor during this time? Most people probably won't have the receipts for these TVs or monitors now, and in many cases have probably already thrown them out or given them away to make room for an LCD replacement...

Re:And now what? (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | about 2 years ago | (#42192439)

Hopefully they'll think twice about price fixing LCDs, SSDs or other components.

Re:And now what? (1, Informative)

Amouth (879122) | about 2 years ago | (#42192497)

you realize they have already been convicted of price fixing LCD's

Re:And now what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192545)

You're joking, eh? Most of these companies have already been implicared of price fixing in LCD panels, optical disk drives, and in the case of Sammy DRAM price fixing.

Re:And now what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192501)

Try thinking about the future implications for all consumers instead of just yourself in your immediate present.
As others have stated, it'll deter them and others from price-fixing LCDs, memory, etc.

Selfish jerk.

Re:And now what? (1)

pclminion (145572) | about 2 years ago | (#42192507)

Strange -- do you also expect murder trials to bring the victims back to life?

Re:And now what? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 2 years ago | (#42192639)

How does this actually help someone who's bought a TV or monitor during this time?

Directly, it doesn't. Government litigation -- which this is -- isn't generally aimed at direct compensation of individual victims for harms (that's what direct litigation by victims is for), its to deal with diffuse harms by creating a disincentive to commit them by taking away ill-gotten gains (and, at the same time, to do some indirect compensation for those harmed that are represented by the government, since the fines collected are then used for public purposes, directly supplanting either present taxes or present borrowing that would be paid by future taxes.)

Re:And now what? (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 2 years ago | (#42192677)

How does this actually help someone who's bought a TV or monitor during this time?

It is similar to how incarcerating a person who commits assault helps the person who was assaulted. It helps society in much the same way, and that is the larger goal. If you sincerely think about it for a minute, you should be able to figure it out.

Re:And now what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42193223)

No. Unless the actual individuals who engaged in price fixing go to jail, then this case is moot as a deterant to anything. Your example is like saying, "It is similar to how suing the employer of a person who commits assault helps the person who was assaulted." Again, unless the price fixers themselves go to jail, taking money from the corporation won't deter squat.

Re:And now what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192733)

The worst part, is that if you think about it, the governments will have been paid a higher VAT on the purchase of the devices, will get the big lump of money thanks to the fine, and will be receiving the increase in VAT due to the companies recouping their losses through higher product prices.

So, triple win for the governments?

Re:And now what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42193809)

The government isn't your enemy, a government with more money is good for you. Much better than in the hands of dirty companies.

Re:And now what? (2)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | about 2 years ago | (#42192849)

well - if you're a company that bought hundreds of the things, then it might help you a lot.

read the bottom of the press release; You can use the EU judgement in court as absolute proof that price fixing went on, and they specifically state that damages (payable to you) should not be reduced on account of the fine already levied.

frankly - if I had purchased an expensive TV in that period, I'd be tempted to take a small claims case now just for fun.

Re:And now what? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 2 years ago | (#42193405)

Because those decadent Caribbean vacations, err political summits, are going to be paid for by those sinner companies instead of the tax payer. Jeez, some people need a billboard in front of their face before they get it...

What percentage of their profits is that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192399)

I'd be curious if this is actually meaning something, or just a drop in the bucket.

Doesn't sound like a meaningful amount to me, but I may be wrong and profits may have been already pretty low.

At least they don't let them get away completely without anything. I am no big fan of the EU, but at least the stream news about them of actually suing and fining companies for shit they do is a small positive note I can't deny. (Depending on the truth of the news of course.)

Why!? (4, Interesting)

EzInKy (115248) | about 2 years ago | (#42192499)

What would it take for us Americans to get a government that favors individuals over corporations? Perhaps a new
Supreme Court? The current one seems to think that corporations are people.

Re:Why!? (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about 2 years ago | (#42192549)

I thought corporations were individuals in the USA?

Re:Why!? (1)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#42192863)

Corporations are people; but they aren't a person. They should have all the rights that a collection of people would have. Much like a union should have, a religious group, and those practicing their right "to assemble".

Re:Why!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42194361)

They should have all the rights that a collection of people would have. Much like a union should have, a religious group...

And indeed, they do have those rights. They just don't have any of the responsibilities.

Re:Why!? (0, Flamebait)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#42192569)

None of those manufacturers are in the US and any Asian company is all about lying, stealing, and cheating their way to a profit. They're taught to operate their business that way because they have no ethics or morals when it comes to money. Maybe you missed that corporate spyware espionage story a couple stories down?

Re:Why!? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#42192925)

How do you know that asians have no morals when it comes to money? I would believe that at least for Japanese, running a respectable business is important.

Re:Why!? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 2 years ago | (#42193447)

As opposed to what? The South African manufacturers?

Re:Why!? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#42193683)

LOL!!! All the Suds care about is class warfare.

Re:Why!? (2, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#42192699)

I want the New York Times, the media corporation, to have free speech. Granting the Times free speech and not more politically-motivated corporations free speech is a very difficult problem to solve. I can't really fault the Supreme Court.

I think we need to re-examine what we want corporations to be, in a more general sense. There should be a huge amount of support for reform, but for some reason there is not. On the left, people love to hate corporations. On the right, the more libertarian-leaning folks should hate corporations since they represent a huge example of government interference in the free market, and they mask individual liability.

Individuals in a corp already have free speech (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#42193129)

I want the New York Times, the media corporation, to have free speech.

All the people that work the the Times do have free speech so in principle you already have what you want. You just don't want to limit the individual's right to free speech because it happens under the aegis of a corporation.

Re:Individuals in a corp already have free speech (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#42193397)

Point is, I want the NY Times product - the newspaper - to have very broad speech protections, probably almost the same protection afforded to the individual employees. Maybe the answer is that the NY Times shouldn't be a corporation if it wants freedom of speech. I don't know, I don't pretend to be that smart. But I can certainly see the difficult position SCOTUS was in.

Corporations = Puppets (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#42193643)

Point is, I want the NY Times product - the newspaper - to have very broad speech protections, probably almost the same protection afforded to the individual employees.

A corporation is a fictional entity. It is merely an association of individuals. Nothing wrong with that at all but a corporation by definition has no voice of its own. It's like a puppet, it only can say what the person controlling it wants it to say and the person controlling it already has free speech rights. The important bit is to make sure we don't limit the speech of individuals by limiting the corporation. (basically I'm agreeing with you) The solution SCOTUS came up with to solve this dilemma was to declare that a corporation was functionally identical (or nearly so) to a person which is clever but probably not the best solution because there are critical differences between a puppet and the puppeteer. SCOTUS basically declared Pinocchio to be a real boy even though it is obvious to everyone that the puppet isn't actually a real person.

Re:Individuals in a corp already have free speech (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#42193787)

The Supreme Court ruling held that a corporation's free speech derives from the rights of the individuals composing it, and not from some concept of corporate personhood, which is a left-wing bogeyman meme that won't die.

Congress doesn't get to create organizations and then strip them of rights like free speech.

If you don't like it, please promote a constitutional amendment and convince a supermajority of people it is a good idea, rather han declaring it fait accompli using a simple majority. "But it's a great idea and you really want it", sayeth the cackling power-hungry politician, "let's put our transient, simple majority to work!" hasn't worked out so well historically.

Re:Individuals in a corp already have free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42194179)

Except a corporation doesn't represent the individuals composing it. A corporation represents the shareholders. The individuals inside have no rights to speak for the corporation. The shareholders, who control the speech of the corporation aren't liable for what is said. That's wrong. You can't separate freedom to speak from taking responsibility for that same speech. Limited liability corporations should have no free speech rights.

Re:Individuals in a corp already have free speech (1)

iceperson (582205) | about 2 years ago | (#42193523)

So it's not freedom of speech you don't agree with, it's freedom of association?

Re:Why!? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 2 years ago | (#42193473)

Free speech? The the western media outlets have free speech. They just happen to "speech" what ever political agenda their CEOs ask of them.

Re:Why!? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#42193589)

So what is your argument exactly? We shouldn't have free newspapers? Or the NY Times, as a corporation, should not have the right to publish a free newspaper?

Re:Why!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42193917)

This is a solved problem. Press outlets have (at least in Sweden) one PERSON who's liable for EVERYTHING that is said by that publication, hence the COMPANY derives its "freedom of speech" from the Chief Publisher ("Ansvarig utgivare" in Swedish). No need to declare a company a person.

Re:Why!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192713)

What would it take for us Americans to get a government that favors individuals over corporations?

Eternal vigilance.

Re:Why!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42193005)

What would it take for us Americans to get a government that favors individuals over corporations? Perhaps a new
Supreme Court? The current one seems to think that corporations are people.

Want to make this country a better place?

What it would take is for the removal of the president, congress, and supreme court and replace them with people from around the country that work in the real world. Hospital directors, fire chiefs, police chiefs, public school super intendents, surgeons/doctors, and so on. People who actually understand how this country works from the middle and not just the highest end of things. You cant just put any slack jawed idiot in there but you cant stock the entire thing with people who have no idea how the middle america works or people who ride around in limos and will never have to be "normal" again. Just being rich and powerful doesnt qualify you to run anything and thats what we have done, stock the decision makers with elitist snobs who only care about keeping their jobs and prestiege.

We need people who will make tough decisions. There are dozens of ways to fix our problems but no one is willing to risk getting booed by making tough choices. The american people dont want tough choices either because they want everything handed to them and to not do anything. We need someone who is going to say "This is going to suck for a couple years but in the end we will be better for it so suck it up". Instead we get wishy washy politicians that make up excuses, waste money on pointless stuff because on paper it looks good to their voters, cowtail to big time donaters and basically just pussies in suits afraid of actually making a real decision.

We also need to abolish having seperate parties. No one can make a good decision for the entire country when they are diametrically opposed to the other half making decisions because they will never agree with the other half. You cant make good decisions when you only look at things from one perspective and will out of spite defeat the other side whether its in the peoples best interest or not. Thats like putting a newborn in a home with a woman who is a rightwing conservative christian mother that is a very devote and strict catholic and a father who is a liberal, hippie, wiccan, pot smoker. Those two will never do whats best for the child, they will just try to force what they want on the child to spite the other and neither will come to terms that is in the childs best interest.

Do those two things and youll see a vast improvement in this country. But it will never happen because the american people dont want to make it happen, they want to sit at home and hope it happens or just pretend like everything is fine and ignore everything. They love to be ignorant in bliss. Sure government and politicians suck the life out of us but its only because we let them.

Re:Why!? (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#42193561)

Next time you vote, make sure it's for someone that doesn't have a (D) or an (R) next to their name. That's how.

Re:Why!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42193687)

And who would be part of that new entitiy? What guidlines would it have. Or better yet, who would decide those?
A lot of governments start out well, it's the actualy people that let them decline and corporations, nothing more than carrion eaters, come and pickup the leftovers.

The only way things will change, is if a few people, start actually making changes over the next few decades. Otherwise, the revolution preaching nuts might be closer to the truth than the rest.

Re:Why!? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 2 years ago | (#42193693)

Perhaps a new Supreme Court?

The courts can't do anything with non-existent consumer protection laws.

Too little (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192553)

Take all their profits from selling CRT:s. And LCD:s since they have been convicted in that area as well.

Re:Too little (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42193071)

All INCOME from CRT sales, not just profits then tack on interest (10% per year ?) to cover anything that may be hidden by other accounting tricks. do this 2 or 3 times and the problem fixes itself.

And who will pay the fines? (3, Interesting)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about 2 years ago | (#42192623)

The consumer will pay the fines in higher prices. Take the boards and the CEOs responsible to jail if you want to make a dent in this, all the fines will do is tack on a fine tax to their products. Thanks.

Re:And who will pay the fines? (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about 2 years ago | (#42192665)

I bet you they made far more in profit than the cost of the fines.

Re:And who will pay the fines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192899)

For money made years ago and already spent. It will cause higher prices *now* as those companies will need to cover that in their current products... Companies rarely work in 10-15 year spans. They work in 3-12 month spans of what will make it move their stock the highest...

Re:And who will pay the fines? (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42192721)

Take the fines in the form of equity. It hits the owners (shareholders) by diluting their equity. And with enough equity, the government can become an activist shareholder and move around a few managers or set pay. Look how GM and the banks screamed when the bailout was given in the form of equity.

Government takeovers are not ideal (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#42193537)

Take the fines in the form of equity. It hits the owners (shareholders) by diluting their equity. And with enough equity, the government can become an activist shareholder and move around a few managers or set pay.

Governments have significant conflicts of interest and are generally not well equipped to manage corporations. If you are a competitor to a company that has the government as a shareholder, you can easily find yourself in a very bad situation because it is no longer a level playing field. The government can change the laws to favor the company they own.

Look how GM and the banks screamed when the bailout was given in the form of equity.

The government did not take an equity stake in most banks. They did give them some loan covenants which the banks were not happy about but frankly who cares about that? There are always going to be people complaining about anything that doesn't completely favor them financially. GM did not scream about giving up an equity stake because that was obviously going to be part of the terms. You rescue a company from death and you expect a say in what it does until you recoup your investment. The alternative was liquidation of GM plus most of their supply base and probably Ford and Chrysler as well since they share suppliers. Even Toyota said that GM being liquidated would be a grave problem for them. The government pretty much had to take an equity stake to ensure performance and the only reason they still have one is because they are hoping to not take a big loss for the taxpayers in the process.

Re:Government takeovers are not ideal (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42195021)

Governments have significant conflicts of interest and are generally not well equipped to manage corporations.

I hear this argument often. But I never seem to hear any evidence to support this position. First; owning equity in and managing a corporation are two different things. I'm not 'well equipped' to manage a corporation. And yet, I own a share of many (significant shares in a few). Second; governments often manage budgets and staffs that dwarf many corporations. And in some cases, they do a reasonable job. Not always great, but if the same public oversight was applied to the inefficiencies of some private orporations, managers would be in federal prisons.

If you are a competitor to a company that has the government as a shareholder, you can easily find yourself in a very bad situation because it is no longer a level playing field. The government can change the laws to favor the company they own.

And yet, they seem to co-exist. More so in Europe than the USA. But the EU has just institutionalized what goes on under the table in the USA: Government officials with private interests in corporations that they regulate. Some minor repairs [wikipedia.org] have been made to this situation under the Obama administration.

Re:And who will pay the fines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192809)

Goods are already priced at the highest point the consumers will pay, they can't just increase the price and have revenue increase or they would have done so already.

Re:And who will pay the fines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192931)

If you are stupid enough to still buy from such a company, you *deserve* to pay the fine. Because then you are part of the problem.

Piercing the corporate veil (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#42193323)

Take the boards and the CEOs responsible to jail if you want to make a dent in this, all the fines will do is tack on a fine tax to their products.

Do you seriously think there would be no negative consequences from making company officers personally liable for the actions of the company regardless of whether they personally were the cause? The ENTIRE reason corporations exist is to shield the shareholders and employees of the company from many forms of personal liability. Without this shield much of modern commerce would not be possible because the risk would simply be too high. Even if they were willing to accept the risk, prices of their products would have to be higher to absorb the higher levels of risk. Company officers would be liable for the actions of other people that they cannot possibly hope to control completely.

There are circumstances where the corporate veil can be pierced (and rightfully so) but we need to be extremely cautious about when and how. Sure you could "solve" fraud problems in the manner you propose but unless you are very careful and put significant limits on the personal liability, you would almost certainly kill the corporation in the process.

Re:Piercing the corporate veil (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about 2 years ago | (#42193617)

You bring up some very thought provoking and informative points. Kudos to you.

It would seem that the responsibility and punishments should fall on those responsible for breaking the law, not as merely chain of command cut off the leader's head for subordinates breaking of the law.

There seems to be a problem when someone who breaks a law goes to jail but when a group of people band together and someone breaks the law no one goes to jail. In the latter, you end up making decisions based on cost/benefit ratios. If you can make a billion dollars breaking the law and get fined 500M that is a damn good business decision. If you make a billion dollars and go to jail for 20 years..not so much.

Maybe we should hold corporate individuals personally liable for breaking laws, because, the corporate "person" can not pay the penalty of jail time. Not the shareholders, not people who are clueless, the individuals in the chain who knowingly, willfully, and methodically break laws knowing there will be no personal consequences.

Re:Piercing the corporate veil (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#42193895)

If we do this, let's also jail politicians every time a police officer wrongly conks someone on the head. Or every time a government office janitor steals a laptop and sells it.

As a stopgap, I love the idea of politicians being forced to live under the same God Damn Awesome rules they foist on us.

LOL Samsung (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192659)

So this is what now? The 4th price fixing cartel spanning the late 90s and early 2000s that Samsung has been a part of? But since they make Android phones we'll just ignore that while painting Apple as evil, right?

Re:LOL Samsung (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42193089)

It's funny how you have to drag Apple into *everything*, and are the only one around here even mentioning them.
You are mentally ill. With Schizophrenia Appleitis.
Go back to fapping on your gayPhone. And sticking chains of gayPod minis up your "geeenius"-prolapsed asshole.

Re:LOL Samsung (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#42193165)

So this is what now? The 4th price fixing cartel spanning the late 90s and early 2000s that Samsung has been a part of? But since they make Android phones we'll just ignore that while painting Apple as evil, right?

Philips, LG Electronics, Samsung SDI,

Sony was one of the top players for CRT during that this time. Somehow they managed to stay out of it. I've pretty much come to the conclusion that all companies are pulling this kind of shit. Some are just better at not getting caught than others.

Re:LOL Samsung (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42193259)

Yes and out of all of them only Sansung is the one that Slashtards will defend to the death. The Samsung Defense Force would have you believe they re innocent angels when in fact they have a long history of patent offense and cartel price fixing.

Money fines are ineffective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192769)

Why is everything settled with money? Pussies.

Invalidate their key patents in EU, jail their major shareholders, deny import and sale of their and their affiliates' products, sell their assets in EU take their money and forbid them from operating in EU, ...

So... (1)

Jintsui (2759005) | about 2 years ago | (#42192797)

We can expect an similar fine 10-15 years from now for flat panel price fixing? AWESOME!!!!

Serious question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42192879)

Has the EU ever levied these kinds of fines against countries that are based in Europe? Their actions often seem like protectionism masquerading as consumer protection.

Phillips (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 2 years ago | (#42194149)

No one asks you to read the article. But atleast the summary. The Phillips mentioned in the summary is based in Europe.

Money back for consumers? (1)

photonic (584757) | about 2 years ago | (#42192953)

The EU has many issues, but prosecution of anti-competitive behavior is one of the areas where they shine. I bought a big Philips 'flatscreen' (i.e. the front is flat, it sticks out half a meter on the backside) for around 1200 euro circa 2001, so can I now claim some of my money back? (Related bonus question, since this is Slashdot: A somewhat obsolute piece of electronics weighing 50 kg is collecting dust in my living room. It is still working perfectly, but has only scart and analog coax inputs. Resolution is also on the low side, it is not HD. Any useful project it can be used for, other than throwing it out of the window to kill my neighbour's cat?)

Re:Money back for consumers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42193319)

photonic, if it's a tube TV you might ask if there are hobbyists at MAGFest, a video game conference on the east coast of the US, whether someone needs it for an arcade project. There's a massive amount of old arcade games (and console games) that require a tube television to work for the light guns, and I'm pretty sure someone at the convention would be happy to take it off your hands. A number of arcade systems are shipped from EU/JP to it for the festivities.

-> http://www.magfest.org/ for the convention, it runs around Jan 6 in MD this year.

There are probably other arcade collectors / lightgun hobbyists who would enjoy the hardware and may be closer.

I've heard good results from freecycling sites as well, or a craigslist "you pick it up" equivalent, those would probably find you someone who could use it closer to you.

Good luck :O

Re:Money back for consumers? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#42193385)

World's most awesome NES Duck Hunt/Hogan's Alley station?

Re:Money back for consumers? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 2 years ago | (#42193541)

Place it in a box suspended over said cat with some uranium and a radioactive decay counter as the trigger to release the payload.

Nothing beats them (2)

cohomology (111648) | about 2 years ago | (#42194033)

I don't care what others say - LCD's, LED's, and Plasma Panels just can't provide the softness and warmth of a CRT. They will never go out of style.

How many of those US corporations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42194251)

'cos, you know, I hear all the time about how the EU only fines US companies, therefore they must all be US, right?

That's one way to boost the budget.. (0)

scsirob (246572) | about 2 years ago | (#42195039)

The EU is just p*ssed off that the member countries refuse to pay for a budget hike of 8% next year. So instead the EU finds a scapegoat and collects their extra money this way. The consumers will see nothing in return.

CRTs, really? (0)

sylvandb (308927) | about 2 years ago | (#42195119)

They had to take action on CRTs, now essentially obsolete, for something which occurred during a 10 year period ending 7 years ago.

Couldn't they have found a current or a longer lasting cartel?

De Beers perhaps?

Or if that doesn't pass the "essential" test, how about OPEC?

I'm sure there are other candidates. But no. Like any other bully or mob, politicians pick on the weak and those who won't pay for protection.

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