HP price fixing investigated by Korean FTC

HP is under the watchful eye of the Seoul Fair Trade Commission (FTC) after claims that it jumped into bed with other IT vendors to fix prices.

Although the company’s bedfriends haven’t been confirmed it is believed that these include IBM and Oracle.

The FTC raided HP’s Seoul office Friday, taking with them computer records and documents. They also questioned employees.

According to the Korea Times, HP confirmed that it had been paid a visit by the investigators. However, it refused to cite exact reasons, calling the visit “routine.” The company also tried to cover its back by claiming that the probe was part of a vow by the FTC to tighten its monitoring over multinational companies – and prevent them from abusing their dominant position in the Korean market.

The FTC isn’t shedding too much light on the matter, claiming that it has rules banning it from speaking about pending cases.

The Korea Times, however, said that HP is one of the bigger players in the Korean market, which is “heavily dependent on foreign providers of computer servers, storage and database management systems.” Others in this space include IBM and Oracle.

It is thought that the FTC will be trying to prove that HP, along with IBM and Oracle, violated the country’s anti-trust laws by abusing their positions.

The investigation will take months and months to prove. If it’s found guilty, the case will be handed over to prosecution, which would move to slam the company for criminal punishments and fines.