Nintendo DS screen scandal: Sharp ordered to pay 261 million yen fine

About a year ago we told you about a possible price fixing scandal between Japanese LCD makers Sharp and Hitachi, involving the Nintendo DS LCD screens. The two companies are said to have made a deal where the price of these screens would stay fixed, despite falling prices and competition. The issue was remained fairly quiet until now.

It turns out that Sharp was slapped with a cease and desist order and an administrative surcharge payment order from the Japan Fair Trade Commission. The fine? A whopping 261 million yen ($2.9 million).

Today, Sharp released a statement on these orders:

After carefully reviewing the content of these orders, we find them unacceptable and have thus decided to make complaints. We submitted these complaints to the Japan Fair Trade Commission today.

According to the orders, Sharp Corporation is said to have exchanged information with another LCD manufacturer before selling LCD modules to Nintendo Co., Ltd., thus violating the Antimonopoly Act. However, Sharp believes that there was no violation of the Antimonopoly Act in connection with these dealings. Therefore, we intend to explain our case in the complaint procedures and seek for a fair decision under the law.

If the price fixing actually went down, Sharp may have kicked their own ass. Nintendo expects to ship over 30 million DSes this year. If they have to miss out on that action for some silly price fixing, this will surely hurt their bottom line.

[Via Spong]

Dale North