Believe it or not, magnetic tapes are still around. And, not only are they still around, but they are still an issue of hot debate. Recently, the EU has come down on Sony, Fuji and Maxell for conspiring together and fixing the prices of professional Betacam SP and Digital Betacam tapes, demanding around $109.8 million in compensation for their actions.
In particular, starting 8 years ago, Sony and these other companies worked together to artificially inflate the price of certain tapes for the purpose of increasing profits. Obviously those are actions to be frowned upon, and since these three companies together represent an overwhelming majority of the “professional” video tape market, a price-fixing cartel is definitely in bad taste. All the fines relate to bad deeds that happened five years ago or more, though it is clearly not water under the bridge for the EU.
This is the second time in less than a year in which we've heard about Sony price-fixing. Around this time last year, Sony faced a price-fixing probe for the cost of SRAM along with other companies such as Toshiba and Mitsubishi. It makes me wonder how much of the components in any given machine were bought at a fixed price.