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Dell Sues Toshiba, Hitachi, Others for LCD Cartel

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 28 comments

Dell is suing five LCD panel manufacturers for alleged price fixing.

On Friday of last week, Dell filed a lawsuit at a U.S. district court in San Francisco against a group of five LCD makers in Asia. A spokesman at Dell's Japan unit yesterday told Reuters that the company had filed suit against Sharp, Hitachi, Toshiba, Seiko Epson and HannStar for allegedly fixing the price of LCD panels

Details about the suit are pretty scant. Reuters reports that both Sharp and Hitachi said that they were aware of the suit but declined to comment on the matter. Dell has not said what it is seeking in terms of damages.

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  • 4 Hide
    NapoleonDK , March 16, 2010 2:37 PM
    Maybe they can use the money from this to develop proper bezel-less screens. Of course, if I were to pick a company to design bezel-free tech for computers, it'd be Samsung - not Dell...
  • 6 Hide
    agent766 , March 16, 2010 2:43 PM

    NapoleonDKMaybe they can use the money from this to develop proper bezel-less screens. Of course, if I were to pick a company to design bezel-free tech for computers, it'd be Samsung - not Dell...


    If they do develop bezel-free screens, that'd make it a lot more feasible for multi-screen displays. But where would the buttons go? :o 
  • 0 Hide
    pooflinger1 , March 16, 2010 2:44 PM
    Weren't Samsung and LG recently found guilty of this?
  • 0 Hide
    dman3k , March 16, 2010 2:55 PM
    Why would it be Samsung who would develop bezel-free tech?

    I think it'll be Vizio.
  • 6 Hide
    OvrClkr , March 16, 2010 3:23 PM
    Dell makes remarkable screens no doubt but price-fixing? Seems like 2010 is the year where everyone wants to sue everyone.
  • 3 Hide
    Pei-chen , March 16, 2010 3:27 PM
    Isn't Samsung and LG-Philips the two biggest panel makers and main supplier of DELL? Why is DELL suing smaller makers on behalf of Samsung and LG-Philips?

    It feels like the LaHood, GM, and Toyota conspiracy again.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 16, 2010 3:43 PM
    Dell has been having major LCD supply chain issues - this lawsuit likely has something to do with it. Three months after ordering a Studio 16 with a RGB LED 1080 display, my rep told me that he had no idea when or if the displays would be arriving in North America, and perhaps I would like to change my order.
  • 2 Hide
    Toddosan , March 16, 2010 3:54 PM
    agent766If they do develop bezel-free screens, that'd make it a lot more feasible for multi-screen displays. But where would the buttons go?

    The side of the monitor maybe.
  • 9 Hide
    cjl , March 16, 2010 4:11 PM
    OvrClkrI don't think price-fixing should be considered illegal. If you are a manufacturer and you get your parts for less than the competition you should be able to sell your product at whatever price you want. This lawsuit smells like Dell is just looking for some extra cash..


    Price fixing doesn't mean one manufacturer is setting the price for their own panels however high they want. That's perfectly legal. Price fixing means that several manufacturers got together and agreed to not drop prices below a certain level, in essence creating a monopolistic situation. If the manufacturers had not agreed on this, then competition would have driven prices down, but because of the price fixing, the prices remain well above where their equilibrium would have been without the illegal collaboration.
  • 0 Hide
    dman3k , March 16, 2010 4:12 PM
    I don't understand how Samsung could charge more for a cheaper technology and a cheaper method of manufacturing which means cheaper production value. Maybe that's what Dell is fighting about. Samsung wants more with less. All of this is pure speculations.
  • 0 Hide
    deadlockedworld , March 16, 2010 4:28 PM
    Why is Dell going it alone on this?

    They should have been able to find corporate allies (i.e. Apple's massive legal team) to help in a lawsuit that would impact all monitor sales.
  • 1 Hide
    nicklasd87 , March 16, 2010 4:32 PM
    NapoleonDKMaybe they can use the money from this to develop proper bezel-less screens. Of course, if I were to pick a company to design bezel-free tech for computers, it'd be Samsung - not Dell...


    Dell actually has a much superior linup of monitors compared to Samsung. Correct me if I am wrong, but Samsung does not put out any monitors with the best type of pannel technology, IPS. Most of Samsung monitor pannels are VA or the more common and very crappy, TN. Even though IPS monitors are not very common, and are not usually sold based on the merrits of the pannel technology, Dell does have a few IPS pannel monitors.
    http://www.pchardwarehelp.com/guides/s-ips-lcd-list.php
    I have been researching this alot recently because I am trying to find a relitively cheap IPS monitor at 24 inches, so I have been researching lcd monitors significantly for a few months now.

    cartels are always bad for us the consumer. competition causes prices to go down for consumers, while cartels do not.
  • 2 Hide
    back_by_demand , March 16, 2010 4:45 PM
    Is this the same Dell that pushes out a 30" cinema display for $2200?

    The same Dell that in every single sector from 15" upwards has a price
    that is more than almost every one else apart from Apple?

    Maybe they aren't so angry about the price fixing so much that the price they fixed it to was still consistently less than Dell.
  • 1 Hide
    OvrClkr , March 16, 2010 4:50 PM
    Quote:
    Price fixing doesn't mean one manufacturer is setting the price for their own panels however high they want. That's perfectly legal. Price fixing means that several manufacturers got together and agreed to not drop prices below a certain level, in essence creating a monopolistic situation. If the manufacturers had not agreed on this, then competition would have driven prices down, but because of the price fixing, the prices remain well above where their equilibrium would have been without the illegal collaboration.


    Gotcha, I was under the impression that several companies had got together to DROP prices and eventually gain a major profit due to Dell not being able to match whatever the competition price was at.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , March 16, 2010 5:06 PM
    OvrClkrGotcha, I was under the impression that several companies had got together to DROP prices and eventually gain a major profit due to Dell not being able to match whatever the competition price was at.

    Yeah, thats why price fixing charges seem absurd. If price fixing is about artificially keeping prices at high levels then why is every accused cheaper than Dell? Whoops!
  • 0 Hide
    paigeinfull , March 16, 2010 5:42 PM
    Um poeple they're Dell is talking about the lcd screens manufactured by these manufacturers, not the actual monitors. It would make sense why Dell is more expensive: they have to buy their panels at inflated prices because they don't manufacture their own.

    If this is true though I don't see how more companies wouldn't be complaining and have prices as high as Dell. Maybe it has something to do with them them being an american company but then you would think companies like HP and Apple would watn to sue as well
  • 0 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , March 16, 2010 5:53 PM
    Eh... screw you Dell , your LCD's suck anyway.
  • 2 Hide
    rooket , March 16, 2010 6:20 PM
    Gin FushichoEh... screw you Dell , your LCD's suck anyway.


    since when? they have samsung internals.

    also I can see why they'd sue.. they aren't suing samsung, but when you have so many other companies price fixing then it changes the market. I'm glad I don't own any of the mentioned brands. I still remember when a 15" crappy HP LCD panel cost a lot of money. and for what, this small of a piece of equipment? and u know that anything that says HP or compaq on it is going to fail which it did after 2 or 3 years for my neighbor..
  • -1 Hide
    OvrClkr , March 16, 2010 6:40 PM
    Quote:
    Price fixing doesn't mean one manufacturer is setting the price for their own panels however high they want. That's perfectly legal. Price fixing means that several manufacturers got together and agreed to not drop prices below a certain level, in essence creating a monopolistic situation. If the manufacturers had not agreed on this, then competition would have driven prices down, but because of the price fixing, the prices remain well above where their equilibrium would have been without the illegal collaboration.


    I understand your point but if you actually think about it, why would Dell be angry at companies that sell their products at a higher price? I could understand if the same product was sold for cheaper and in-turn making Dell have to lower thier prices to match the competition but higher prices means more people will opt for the cheaper solution since the harware is basically the same regardless of the company (manufaturer).
  • 2 Hide
    RazberyBandit , March 16, 2010 6:40 PM
    First, can it be clarified whether or not we're talking about panel manufacturers or monitor manufacturers? There is a difference...

    Doesn't Chi-Mei make the panels for Dell's monitors? Dell itself is not a panel manufacturer. They buy panels (possibly even complete monitors) from another company, then sell them as Dell-branded monitors. That is, unless things have changed recently and I missed them buying out an actual panel-maker...

    The only way I can see Dell complaining is if these other companies were inflating the price of their products, but we all know that Dell's monitors tend to be on the pricier-side of things. So, this just doesn't make sense to me... Are they mad cause all these other companies are selling their units cheaper? What a shame! They're selling at a lower price AND selling more units!?

    Damn capitalism!!! LOL
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