Toshiba and Hitachi join Sony in antitrust investigation

By on October 29, 2009, 4:00 PM
Toshiba and Hitachi have joined Sony in an antitrust investigation. The US Department of Justice will probe the companies' optical disc drive businesses, Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology and Hitachi-LG Data Storage. Sony's Optiarc America was subpoenaed yesterday.

None of the companies have disclosed what products are being investigated, but rumors suggest that it may be related to the high cost of Blu-ray. Combined, the companies account for some 60% of the optical drive market, so it wouldn't be surprising if they've been involved in some form of price-fixing and bid-rigging -- especially considering AT&T's recent allegations of an LCD conspiracy.

Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi have all agreed to comply with the investigation, and it could be a while before specific details of the case emerge.

User Comments: 14

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Colonel Lance said:

All of these recent Antitrust investigations/lawsuits are really making me sad.

Why can't people just do things fairly?

I swear there's hardly any more honor left in this world of ours.

treeski treeski said:

People can't do things fairly because we all have a hard time determining exactly what is fair. I'm sure all of these companies would LIKE to do things fairly, but we live in a very competitive society. Consequently, almost anyone will go through any loophole they can to get ahead of the game (or, nowadays, to keep up with it!).

Timonius Timonius said:

Well I have seen cheaper blu-ray players out there. Don't know about the quality though. But I'm guessing if you have a cheaper player that plays a blu-ray disc most won't complain. So I don't see how 'artificially' high prices from the 'prestigious' companies will be an issue. Those that don't have the cash will buy cheap (and that will be the power of the majority of consumers). Early adopters and enthusiasts will almost always spend more. I guess it comes down to how badly you want the newest and the best. It seems to me that these antitrust investigations are just lining other peoples pockets who have nothing better to do with their time...

Obakemono said:

Could the price still be set artificially high due to the fact that blue ray is the "New thing"? Will we see this in the OLED tv sector? I wonder....

waterytowers said:

I think a manufacturer has a right to charge what they like, it is up to the consumer to vote with their pocket. If the price is too high, there will not be many sales, so the price comes down. I would expect a business to follow the price reduction process until they reach a sweet spot where they are still making a profit and able to sell in quantity. For manufacturers, there is the cost to setup the manufacturing process, which can be quite expensive, and this is part of the reason for high initial prices of items. Given the short life span of many devices, I can imagine they may not cover that cost on some items.

swilllx2p said:

I think it just shows that companies of today will do just about anything and everything to get ahead of the other companies. They could care less who they step on to get there. IMO they of course were involved in this.

fida1989 said:

Making profit is good.But companies must follow some certain rules.

ElShotte ElShotte said:

In response to waterytowers:

If manufacturers were able to charge whatever they wanted, you wouldn't be able to afford half the things that you can.

As far as price inflation, doesn't a Blu-Ray drive pretty much function just like a DVD or CD Drive with the exception of a different laser to actually read/write the disc? If so, then a Blu-Ray drive has most the components of the earlier optical drives, and you can get a DVD burner for $30...

ElShotte ElShotte said:

Also, according to DigiTimes, the manufacturing cost of a Blu-Ray player is around $100 (US Dollars)...

Read the full article here:

pioneerx01 pioneerx01 said:

I really home Sony is not involved in any price "fixing". Granted they are a bit more expensive (any product) than other, but damn do they last.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I find it strange that Blu-ray cost is said to be $100, since it's possible to buy a PC blu-ray drive for $60 at Newegg. Sure there's more stuff in a player, but still. On the other hand, if cost is really $100, then the current prices aren't too high. Most players are currently under $200. It's also not that bad compared to how DVD players cost in the early years. My first one cost around $300, and it wasn't the most expensive.

Shalimar said:

Sony screwing the consumes once again.. what a shock.

They have a reputation for this sort of crap for a reason.. and for anyone trying to defend them remember Sony not only was the "rootkit" king.. but they are so damn dense they even tried to sue themselves at one time.

JieMan JieMan said:

So the culprit might be aimed at blueray , funny how Toshiba may be involved since they were on the other side of things. Could be a way for them to recoup costs.

Guest said:

There is a class action lawsuit forming to recover damages to consumers who purchased products from any of these three companies, which contained a DVD drive. To participate as a class representative you must have purchased the product directly from the manufacturer, not a retailer. For example, someone who purchased a Sony VAIO from Sony's website would qualify. For more information about the suit, incentives for participants and obligations, you may call me at 973-960-9094.


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