Three companies (LG Display, Sharp, and Chungwah Picture Tubes) have pled guilty to charges that they conspired to keep the costs of flat-screens artificially high to protect profits. Each company will pay a fine and participate in ongoing investigations. The US Justice Department noted that this affected screens sold to American companies and listed Dell, Apple, and Motorola by name. Those companies may or may not file individual suits in the future.
While we’ve seen a recent drop in the price of flat-screens for TVs and computers due to economic pressures, supposedly prices would have seen an earlier drop without the efforts at price fixing. With the screen representing 10% to 20% of the cost of a notebook, obviously this could have a significant effect on prices for the consumer. While this case happened in the US, the investigations are looking into this on a global level.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in terms of the costs of computers and TVs moving forward.