back to article Hitachi cops to Dell LCD pricing conspiracy

A Hitachi subsidiary has agreed to a $31m fine for its role in an industry-wide conspiracy to fix the prices of monitors sold to computer and handset manufacturers. Tuesday's guilty plea by Hitachi Displays came the same day the US Justice Department filed a one-count indictment that claimed the Japanese monitor maker actively …

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Unhappy

Dell ripped off? What about the consumer?

What happens to those customers who bought an LCD screen from Dell at these inflated prices? I bet we don't get any money back! I can't see that Dell would have been making a loss on the screens because of the inflated price, it would have been the consumer paying the extra.

Any compensation to Dell will go straight in to their pockets thank you very much...

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Silver badge
Flame

What to do with the money....

I presume that they won'y be giving that fine money over to the companies that LG et al shafted.

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Joke

Refund

So presumably those fines will all go straight to Dell and will be passed on to Dell customers?

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IT Angle

Has anyone asked Dell?

Has el reg asked Dell, Apple, ... what they intend to do with the windfall?

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Appropriate quote

which is not from Civ4, but actually from Adam Smith:

"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is im-possible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and jus-tice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary."

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Happy

Hurray for the Justice Department!

Yay! White collar criminals stealing from you and me get punished.

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Alien

Oil companies.

How come this doesn't happen to oil companies? someone forgot to make a "donation"

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Ash

@Alan Lukaszewicz

This was a fine, not a damages payment. The government gets the money.

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Not as simple as it looks

Price fixing may be evil, but it's not always the fixer who is the root of the problem. The closer you look at this sort of stuff, the less clear it is who is the good guy and who the bad. Dell's distribution unfairly controlling the market price - manufacturers price fixing in order to survive; lawyers making a name for themselves regardless of who gets hurt.

It's all a matter of who has the greater power in negotiations - are LCD's being sold to Dell, or is distribution being sold to the manufacturer. Just as Tesco can say to a supplier - if you want your biscuits on our shelves, you're going to have to give us lower prices than anyone else - so can Dell. It may not be so much little Dell being tricked into overpaying for LCD's as the LCD makers trying not to sell at a loss. If a supplier of the latest LCD's has invested billions in the latest generation of production facility, his hands are tied - he must recover his investment by keeping his lines running while prices are still high. Along comes Dell and says - we'll take your entire production, so you don't need to charge a high price. Then Dell sells for a market leading, but extremely profitable price worldwide which undercuts every other brand. If excess supply turns up, Dell can simply dump it on the market at cost. Meanwhile, other manufacturers are not running at full capacity, and need to charge even higher prices to survive. It's very easy to see how price fixing becomes a matter of survival for manufacturers, and that Dell isn't a manufacturer, but a distributor.

We saw this with the first 24 inch LCD's 3-4 years ago. Dell had the best product and the best price. But from time to time you could buy at almost half that price, direct, on ebay or via numerous online resellers as Dell simply turned 90 days of supplier credit on the excess supply into cash.

The commoditization of everything Dell sells means that Dell's channel has currently lost this power. You can see the results in the share price - one fifth of what it was in Dell's glory days, despite increased sales.

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Anonymous Coward

Excellent!

I have a Dell widescreen monitor (pretty good it is too). Where do I write to in order to get my partial refund?

Oh, wait, this is just to line governmental pockets and not actually assist the ripped-off consumer? Dammit.

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Black Helicopters

“The” government?

One government to rule them all…

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