U.S. District Judge Denise Cole has found Apple guilty of colluding with five major U.S. publishers to drive up prices of electronic books (e-books), saying that the company played a "central role" in the conspiracy. Damages will be determined at a new hearing in which Apple could end up owing millions of dollars, though in the meantime, the Cupertino company maintains its innocence and plans to appeal the ruling.
Have you bought a preconfigured big-box type PC sometime in the last five years? If so, you might have been slightly screwed over. That's what the European Commission claims, at least. Today, the EC announced that it is investigating 13 optical drive suppliers and two major PC OEMs for antitrust violations as part of an alleged long-standing "worldwide cartel" that ran a "bid-rigging" scheme to get the best prices for the parties involved.
AU Optronics Corp., LG Display, and Toshiba Corp. have all three agreed to pay a combined $571 million in damages to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging the three were involved in a scheme to artificially drive up the price of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels. That's on top of over $550 million collected from seven other manufacturers earlier in the year, which tallies up to over $1.1 billion in class-action penalties.
Everyone knows you 'don't do the crime if you can't do the time,' or in Toshiba's case, if you can't pay the fine. The only problem with that is Toshiba is innocent, or so the company claims, just like every single person serving hard time will tell you. Legally speaking, the U.S. District Court in San Francisco found Toshiba guilty of collaborating with other liquid crystal display (LCD) panel makers to fix prices at artificially high levels, and has ordered the company to pay $87 million to absolve itself of its sins.
Apple’s legal team has been waging a war for years now against Android OEMs, and if Reuters sources are to be believed, they probably should have spent a bit more time reviewing e-book negotiations instead. Word on the street is that the Justice Department is close to reaching a settlement agreement with Apple, and several of the major book publishers will probably be on the hook as well. The allegations began several years ago when Apple launched iBooks, and Steve Jobs boldly declared to the world how he planned to take on Amazon.
There's a good chance you overpaid for a computer monitor or notebook purchased between 1999 and 2006, the time frame in which several display makers were engaged in a price fixing scandal. All but one pleaded guilty and agreed to pay fines of several million dollars, some of which crept into the hundreds of millions. The lone standout? AU Optronics, which was found guilty by a U.S. court.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman this week announced a $553 million multi-state settlement with seven major technology corporations accused of illegally conspiring with each other to artificially inflate prices for liquid crystal display (LCD) screens used in a variety of consumer and business applications, including televisions, computer monitors, and laptop computers.
A trio of executives at Hitachi and LG will spend some time behind bars for conspiring to rig bids and fix prices for the sale of optical disk drives, the U.S. Department of Justice announced today. Young Keun Park, Sang Hun Kim, and Sik Hur (aka Daniel Hur) each agreed to plead guilty, with Park and Kim agreeing to serve eight months in prison and Hur agreeing to seven months. All three also agreed to pay $25,000 in criminal fines.
Sharp, Samsung, and half a dozen other liquid crystal display (LCD) panel makers may have colluded to fix prices earlier in the decade, according to claims brought on by a class action lawsuit. The display makers agreed to settle the case for a combined $388 million, of which Sharp, Japan's largest panel maker, will fork over $105 million.
Six LCD makers have been assessed fines of over $850 million (€648 million) by the European Commission for allegedly "operating a cartel which harmed European buyers of television sets, computers, and other products" infused with LCD technology. The companies involved include Samsung, LG, AU Optronics, Chimei InnoLux, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, and HannStar.
"Foreign companies, like European ones, need to understand that if they want to do business in Europe they must play fair. The companies concerned knew they were breaking competition rules and took steps to conceal their illegal behavior. The only understanding we will show is for those that come forward to denounce a cartel and help prove its existence," said Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia.
According to the European Commission, the six LCD makers colluded for four years to fix prices, including price ranges and minimum prices, and exchanged information on future production planning, capacity utilization, and other commercial conditions. What's more, the so-called cartel reportedly held monthly multilateral meetings some 60 times, most often in hotels in Taiwan.
While Samsung was one of the six LCD makers involved, the company "received full immunity" for bringing the cartel to the Commission's attention and providing information on how it was run.