Sharp and Hitachi are best known around consumer electronic
circles for their high-end LCD high-definition televisions. Both Japanese
electronics companies also manufacture small, low-resolution LCD screens for
the wildly popular Nintendo DS.
Making the displays for Nintendo’s handheld is apparently
serious business, as both Sharp and Hitachi are now under investigation by
Japan’s antitrust regulator.
The Fair Trade Commission raided
and searched the offices and outlets of Sharp and Hitachi on the suspicion
that the companies were price fixing their display devices, according to Bloomberg and Kyodo News.
Japanese fair trade law states that any manufacturer guilty
of price fixing will be fined up to 10 percent of the illegal gains.
Sharp and Hitachi supply display technology to the most
popular gaming handheld in the world today. To date, Nintendo has sold more
than 17.6 million Nintendo DS in the U.S., nearly 8.5 million of which were
Overall, the LCD business is expecting
a banner year in 2008, particularly in the area of televisions. Sharp
expects to increase its capital spending $1.85 billion in anticipation of