Wednesday, November 12, 2008

LCD prices were fixed...did you notice?

According to CNBC, the U.S. Justice Department just announced a $585 million dollar settlement of a price-fixing case against LG Electronics, Sharp and Chunghwa Picture Tubes. By far the biggest portion of the fine, $400 million, will be paid by LG. Price-fixing is illegal, of course, but the price of LCD displays has been on a downward spiral for years. I haven't heard anyone complain that LCDs are too expensive recently; if anything, the problem has been whether the prices would stay high enough to keep some of the manufacturers in business.

I can't imagine that resolving this collusion is going to make LCD prices drop any faster than they've already been going down, but it will put a half-billion dollars into the U.S. Treasury. More bailouts, perhaps?

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