Meeting Competition 176. Meeting competition can in general not be used as a justification for single branding obligations.111 This holds both for those obligations already in place before a competitive action took place as for obligations introduced upon a competitive action in the market.
TYING AND BUNDLING
Definitions of Tying and Bundling 177. Tying occurs when the supplier makes the sale of one product (the tying product) conditional upon the purchase of another distinct product (the tied product) from the supplier or someone designated by the latter. Only the tied product can be bought separately. Bundling refers to situations where a package of two or more goods is offered. Cases where only the bundle is available and not the components are referred to as pure bundling. Cases where both the bundle and the components are available on the market are referred to as mixed bundling if the bundle is sold at a discount to the sum of the prices of the components.112 Tying and bundling may have similar effects on competition.
Tying and bundling are common practices, often harmless and efficient
178. Tying and bundling are common practices that often have no anticompetitive consequences. Both companies with and without market power engage in tying and bundling in order to provide their customers with better products or offerings in cost effective ways. At the most basic level, bundling or integrating two or more components into one product is a fundamental part of many economic activities. Such bundling can lead to significant savings in production, distribution and transaction costs and to improved quality. Companies may also
engage in tying for reasons related to the quality, reputation and good usage of their machines.
111 112 Case T-228/97 Irish Sugar, cited in footnote 38, paragraphs 186-187 and 189. The distinction between mixed bundling and pure bundling is not necessarily clear-cut. Mixed bundling may come close to pure bundling when the prices charged for the individual offerings are high.