Tsk Tsk. No one likes a price fixer. Especially the Japanese Fair Trade Commission, who is now investigating Sharp and Hitachi on accusations they have been fixing LCD prices. Specifically they are alleged to be fixing prices for LCD screens used in the Nintendo DS. Again, this is an investigation that is currently running….so no one knows what did or did not happen yet. For their part Nintendo is claiming they had no idea it was going on.

If Sharp and Hitachi were price fixing you’d think it would be Nintendo who’d accidentally tattle on them, since the issue affects the Big N directly. But a spokesperson for Nintendo of America told techblog Engadget that ” "The Fair Trade Commission in Japan conducted on the spot investigations with Sharp and Hitachi Displays in Japan with the suspicion that these two companies formed a cartel regarding the prices of LCDs that they sold to Nintendo. At this point in time, Nintendo is not in a position to make any comments on this, except to confirm that Nintendo itself is not being investigated by the FTC."

Under the law in Japan if a company is found guilty of price fixing, then they have to pay back a percentage of the profits. And with the success of the DS that fee might not come cheap to either manufacturer. At least the Japanese FTC is doing something to protect the people, because it seems like we consumers are often asked to take a baseball bat to the face when it comes to electronics pricing.

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