Yes, there is a secret understanding among the manufacturers. Actually something JR had already revealed, a few months back, here on LL. During these meetings, hold twice a year each time at a different location, the prices are decided and agreed among them, with the very valuable help of some invited "guests" (read well-known photographers) who help them to find out what prices are still acceptable by the potential customers/endusers. The last meeting, as you might know, was just hold a couple of weeks ago (Photokina soon).
And on a more serious note:
There are dedicated people working in those companies, whose bread depends on the service they provide to their customers. I know personally some of them, daily fighting for the users to satisfy their needs and support them whenever they need it, outside their working hours. It is a bit sad, for all these committed and hard-working people, to read such non-sense sometimes. A business-orientated company has however some rules to function adequately and to be able to survive, one of it being to calculate the right and necessary margins to be able to pay its employees, the invoices and possibly also to make some profit to be able to invest in new projects. When prices are set, it is with having these rules in mind, certainly not to "milk-out" the customers. And yes, we are more than happy if we can keep a customer with us, investing in new equipment when he needs it, but it seems to me that this can be achieved only if one provides a prefect service and support to these customers.
Sorry for reacting may be a bit strongly, but I feel it necessary to be said, with the risk of being "countered" by some.
PS - edited for addendum: the same applies to the dealers and distributors, who are mostly hard-working and knowledgeable people.