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Crime Businesses Displays Government Politics

Samsung, Toshiba, Others Accused of LCD Price-Fixing 269

GovTechGuy writes "Toshiba, Samsung, Sharp, LG and other major technology companies allegedly colluded to fix the prices of LCD screens used in televisions and computers, according to an antitrust suit filed Friday by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. The complaint alleges that top-level executives at those firms attended secret meetings on a monthly or quarterly basis where they agreed upon minimum prices, price targets, increases and rates to be charged to specific computer manufacturers. The suit also accuses the companies of exchanging product information, agreeing to output levels and keeping prices artificially high by avoiding competition. Cuomo is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and punitive charges for the alleged overcharging of state institutions."
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Samsung, Toshiba, Others Accused of LCD Price-Fixing

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  • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @05:30PM (#33168718) Journal

    RTFA, it covers 1996 to 2006, a time when prices were still pretty damn high. I know, I have a $600 20" monitor from that era.

  • And higher power use

    On the order of 30-50% higher than an LCD. Not exactly an enormous difference; most people would never see the difference in their electric bill as the consumption would still be drowned out by their refrigerator.

    screen burn in(which is not fixed just covered up)

    Not much of an issue on any plasma made in the last 5-10 years. The manufacturers have been aware of the problem and implemented several techniques to pretty well reduce the rate of burn-in to negligible; more LCDs have dead pixels now than plamsas have burn-in.

    and reflections worse than any CRT ever had

    I don't know what kind of lighting you were watching a plasma on back in the 90s, but that issue has been pretty well quashed as well. Sure, they need glass fronts as opposed to the LCDs with their plastic fronts, that is a requirement for the gas pressure. But we do have more than one way to make glass now...

  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @06:29PM (#33169408) Journal

    or even gasoline?

    Yeah ... ever hear of OPEC ? They basically do this at a multi national level. Although, I really don't know if the price would be any different if they didn't. Demand has almost outstripped supply capacities.

  • Re:Not enough (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @06:55PM (#33169694) Homepage
    In theory perhaps, but it could be a bitch in practice. Manufacturing costs are ultimately at the whim of commodity prices, which in case you haven't noticed, have in some instances been quite dynamic with the current financial turmoil. Should the combined price of raw materials go up to the extent that it is no longer possible to manufacture a product and still make a profit the obvious step for a manufacturer to take is to scale back production and concentrate on other, more profitable, product lines. Net result is that product availability goes down, retailers who are not going to be bound by the court imposed price ceilings,will almost certainly push the prices up to make a quick profit, and ultimately the customer will end up the loser.
  • Re:Not enough (Score:5, Informative)

    by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @06:59PM (#33169718)

    (1) That's unconstitutional. The New York Constitution does not grant such a power as "price fixing".

    The court could certainly order that they retain only a certain percentage markup on their products for a given time, to be verified with inspectors double-checking their books.

    (2) There's no need for such extremes. When the record companies were caught price-fixing CDs (thereby forming an illegal cartel), they were ordered by the courts to refund ~$25 to all their customers, so that erased any illicit profits they had earned.

    You're joking right? That settlement was a COMPLETE FRAUD. Customers who had bought 5-6 dozen music CD's over a decade, at $10+ overcharge per CD, were ripped off with a measly $25 voucher to BUY MORE OVERPRICED PRODUCT. The MafiAA companies pocketed the rest, flipped the bird at the artists they regularly rip off [], and laughed at how fucking stupid our legal system is.

    (3) And then the free market was left to its own devices, and the cost of CDs plummeted from $13 to $9 within a year, since the cartel was no longer allowed to operate. The same will happen to LCDs too, after the price-fixing cartel is broken-up.

    Have you seen the prices lately? Pretty fucking uniform - Walmart, Bestbuy, Amazon, all seem to have exactly the same price (or somewhere within 50 cents of each other) on every goddamn CD again, and new releases are hovering steadily around $18. It sounds more like the MafiAA cartel laid low for a few years and went right back to their old tricks again.

  • Re:Not enough (Score:5, Informative)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @07:34PM (#33170050) Journal

    >>>That settlement was a COMPLETE FRAUD. Customers who had bought 5-6 dozen music CD's over a decade, at $10+ overcharge per CD

    The overcharge was estimated by the court to be $3 per disc. So if you got a $25 refund that covered the overcharge for eight-and-a-half discs. Yes there were some people who bought more than 8.5 discs, but there were also people who bought zero discs (like my mom) and were still eligible for a refund. It all averages out.

    AND it punished the companies with a several hundred million dollars loss.

    >>>were ripped off with a measly $25 voucher to BUY MORE OVERPRICED PRODUCT

    False. I got a check, as did my mom, brother, and my two nieces. The checks were converted to CASH. Maybe you should not make false assumptions about something you known nothing about. It was a true refund.

    Likewise when Paypal got in trouble, I received a Cash refund of $75 due to a court order. Not a voucher - actual money.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Friday August 06, 2010 @07:41PM (#33170112) Journal

    I bought a 21" CRT for $70 (2006).

  • by Timothy Brownawell ( 627747 ) <> on Friday August 06, 2010 @07:51PM (#33170198) Homepage Journal

    Monopolies aren't legal in the US, unless they first ask permission from the government (an exclusive contract).

    This is not true.

    Pay attention to what our occasional anti-trust cases are actually about. They're never "X has a monopoly", they're "X has been engaging in anti-competitive behavior", "X has been abusing their monopoly on Y to cheat in market Z", etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 07, 2010 @01:48AM (#33171840)

    Vista and Windows 7 already have all the functionality you're asking for: on a high-resolution screen old applications get a false legacy DPI value and their output is scaled by Windows, and new applications can request to turn that functionality off and work on the real high-resolution DPI. Now all we need is the applications and the high-resolution monitors.... I'm not holding my breath.

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