The Competition Commission will not refer any aspect of Mustek’s complaint about alleged anticompetitive behaviour by rival Hewlett-Packard to the Competition Tribunal.
Mustek had accused HP of contravening certain sections of the Competition Act and had asked the commission to investigate.
JSE-listed Mustek said HP had contravened the act by selling goods below their marginal or average variable cost, engaging in price discrimination and inducing customers not to deal with competitors, among other charges.
But the commission has dismissed all aspects of the complaint, saying, among other things, that it would not be able to show that HP is dominant in the markets in which it operates.
“The commission in this investigation could not establish with any confidence that HP is dominant in the SA market for PCs. Its share of the market (desktops and laptops) does not exceed 45%, and there is no evidence to suggest that HP possesses market power.”
The commission has also noted that HP’s preferred partner programme is open to any wholesaler meeting the company’s requirements and as such it is “unlikely that HP’s preferred partner programme partner requirements will lead to substantial lessening of competition in the market for PCs”.
Under the commission’s rules, Mustek is entitled to petition the Competition Tribunal directly. However, Mustek MD Hein Engelbrecht says the company will not pursue the matter further. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral