JFTC Fines Sharp for Price Fixing DS Lite Screens

Earlier this year, electronics firm Sharp came under fire due to suspicion of price-fixing of the LCD screens used in the manufacturing of the Nintendo DS Lite.

Now, they have been fined 261.07 million yen ($3 million) by the Japan Fair Trade Commission. The JFTC sent a cease-and-desist notice to Sharp, accusing them of collusion with Hitachi in order to control the price of the displays, thus violating the country’s Antimonopoly Act.

The JFTC’s ordered surcharge relates to LCD sales occurring from October 28, 2005 to March 31, 2006 and January 1, 2007 to March 31, 2007.

The fine is due by March 19, 2009.

Sharp said in a statement that it has taken “with gravity the fact we received such orders, and will strengthen our effort of compliance with law and business ethics.”

But the company contended that it “did not engage in any activities that could be categorized as a violation of Antimonopoly Act.” — Edge Online

Sharp added that they are considering their next steps, including a hearing request, as they found the JFTC’s conclusion to include “some unprecedented interpretations and applications of the Antimonopoly Act.”

They note that with other LCD makers able to enter the market and compete, “Sharp and Hitachi Displays, Ltd., only two manufacturers, could not have controlled the prices.”

They say they’ve made “continued efforts” to reduce costs demanded by Nintendo, and had negotiated costs with the game maker “in good faith.”

Sharp claimed that “there is no precedent in Japan that a cartel in violation of Antimonopoly Act was found for a specific product which was sold to one private company for use of a single product model.”

I have to admit, it does sound a bit off…