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Executives involved in the case get fines and prison terms of up to nine months

The LCD industry was rocked by a scandal in late 2008 when executives from some of the largest panel makers in the world pled guilty to conspiring to fix prices. The price fixing led to inflated costs for displays used by firms like Dell in its notebook computers.

In November of 2008, executives from Sharp, LG, and Chunghwa Picture Tubes all pled guilty to price fixing. The largest fine imposed was placed on LG and totaled $400 million with Sharp said to be paying $85 million in fines.

Today reports are coming in that in addition to the fines levied against the corporations; the executives that participated in the scheme are being individually fined and sentenced to prison time here in America.

DigitalTrends reports that the former Chairman and CEO of Chunghwa, Chieng-Hon Lin was hit with an individual fine of $50,000 and a sentence of 9-months in an American prison. The other executives involved in the scandal received prison terms ranging from six to nine months each.

Deborah A. Garza, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, said in a statement, "These cases involve the first Taiwanese nationals to face imprisonment in the United States for an antitrust offense. The Department of Justice is committed to holding accountable all conspirators who harm American consumers, no matter where they live or where they commit the crime."



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Regional cable monopolies
By AntiM on 1/20/2009 1:01:31 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
The Department of Justice is committed to holding accountable all conspirators who harm American consumers, no matter where they live or where they commit the crime."


So when are they going to go after the cable TV companies that have divided the country into regional monopolies that don't compete with each other?




RE: Regional cable monopolies
By acase on 1/20/2009 1:11:06 PM , Rating: 4
Damn good point!


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By metasin on 1/20/2009 1:59:00 PM , Rating: 5
I believe the difference is that those cable monopolies were created in conjunction with the state and local governments.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By Solandri on 1/20/2009 3:53:25 PM , Rating: 5
I don't have a problem with that. But I remember in Boston the issue went to court because Continental Cablevision (now Time Warner I believe) contracted to provide service to something like 95% of Boston in exchange for a monopoly. The 5% was supposed to account for locations which were too difficult to wire up, or which lacked sufficient infrastructure to add cable (e.g. old apartment buildings with no easy way to add cable to each unit).

The city expected that 5% to be scattered throughout. Instead, Continental "saved up" the 5% and used almost all of it on the entire Chinatown district. The area is primarily lower income, and most of the customers there would've gotten just the basic packages, not the bread and butter pay channels. So they got their monopoly, and they didn't cover one of the city's districts, and they blocked the city from hiring anyone else to give the area coverage.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By 16nm on 1/20/09, Rating: 0
RE: Regional cable monopolies
By FITCamaro on 1/20/2009 4:12:00 PM , Rating: 5
Exactly. The federal government mandated those monopolies. All in an effort to "increase competition". Apparently when the federal government gets involved, competition means "you have one choice".


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By foolsgambit11 on 1/20/2009 7:28:16 PM , Rating: 2
If the federal government mandated that cable providers had to share their infrastructure (a common carrier arrangement, like with phones) it was assumed that would delay development of the communications infrastructure. A company won't invest in a big capital project unless it looks like they'll get their money's worth. The federal government did what it does best - it helped shape the market by creating economic incentives. There will most likely come a time when the government will mandate shared use of the infrastructure, following an arc similar to the deregulation of the telephone system. That time may be upon us, or it may not - there are still constant updates to the infrastructure to boost data rates. Once we've pretty much maximized the data carrying capacity, not just of the coax link to each person's house, but to each hub in the network, then deregulation will make sense - after, of course, the cable companies have payed off their investment in that infrastructure development through protected operation.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By jay401 on 1/20/2009 11:23:26 PM , Rating: 4
" The federal government did what it does best "

What it "does best" is meddle in the marketplace and ruin natural competition, which results in exactly this type of impropriety.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By xsilver on 1/21/2009 7:38:18 AM , Rating: 2
wasnt the OPs point though that had the government not meddled at all, nobody would have cable because no company would want to invest in infrastructure without knowing return investment.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By Regs on 1/21/2009 12:05:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, like when Bill Clinton "made" all those loan Co's approve all those low-income mortgages. They should make policy expiration dates - similar to their own patent laws. Times change and they forget their policies havent.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By foolsgambit11 on 1/20/2009 7:16:25 PM , Rating: 2
I would agree that it looks like collusion may be at work among the cable companies with coverage areas. But it need not be collusion. When there's already a cable provider in a region, it doesn't make much sense to another cable provider to invest in all of the infrastructure needed to compete with the first company. It's just good business sense not to enter saturated markets.

If the government mandated some kind of common carrier licensing system, so that the cable cables were available to competing providers, then you could blame the cable companies. But for now, you'd have to blame the government's policies, which were put in place to protect cable companies' heavy capital investments.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By rudy on 1/20/2009 2:00:21 PM , Rating: 5
I agree , it is getting old how countries ignore internal problems and go after foriegn companies to raise cash. Such as EU with M$ and the LCD and Ram cases in the US. Come on we know how they run business in Asia price fixing is probably going on in every industry they monopolize. But at least if we fix the ones that are bases in our country we may create a lasting fix. Where as all that will happen in the LCD case is they will be careful not to keep the records around next year.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By TheSpaniard on 1/20/2009 10:27:21 PM , Rating: 3
yes the price fixing in pharma is working out great for us...


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By codeThug on 1/20/2009 6:16:54 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
So when are they going to go after the cable TV companies

WTF?

How about the Oil companies and the Wall Street Oil speculators. It seems most people are easily distracted from the real greed mongers.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By mdogs444 on 1/20/2009 6:33:45 PM , Rating: 4
Seeing as how Oil companies have a roughly 8% profit margin, and Oil Speculators have been losing their tails while prices dropped 70%, I'm not sure what your referring to. Maybe you can enlighten us?

Don't forget to address the point that when gasoline was $1/gallon, oil companies were losing money and some were even going out of business. If you want to talk about real greed - then refer to your local, state, and federal politicians who want to raise taxes on commodities after we start conserving. While we decrease our standard of living - they feel they can keep theirs the same if not increase.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By codeThug on 1/20/2009 6:50:56 PM , Rating: 4
"Some" of the oil speculators lost their tails towards the end. At the time of $4 barrel it did not cost the Oil companies any more or any less to produce. So where did the money go? The gas stations didn't get it, your telling me the Oil companies didn't get it, and I don't buy the story that the Saudi's got all of it. So where did the money go?

http://forcechange.com/2009/01/07/supertankers-bei...

Start digging a little deeper and you will see the manipulation going on. Some say the meteoric drop in oil price was done to cripple and reign in Russia and Iran. Who knows? Gasoline going from $4/gal to $1.50/gal solely based on supply and demand is pure bullsch1dt.

BTW- I don't have a problem stringing up our local, state, and federal politicians either. On that, we are in violent agreement.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By mdogs444 on 1/20/2009 7:15:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Gasoline going from $4/gal to $1.50/gal solely based on supply and demand is pure bullsch1dt.

Actually - its quite the opposite. Going from $1.50/gal to $4.00/gal was pure "bullsch1dt". It was all speculation from wars in the middle east, tension with Iran, offline refineries, etc. Whats happening now is the market is readjusting to where it should be based on supply and demand - or haven't you noticed that rounds of OPEC supply cuts haven't worked?
quote:
At the time of $4 barrel it did not cost the Oil companies any more or any less to produce.

No one claimed it did. They production costs remain roughly stationary, and so does their profit margin of 8%. On $1.00/gal they make $.08, but on $4.00/gal, they make $.32. Good reason for their profits quadrupling.
quote:
So where did the money go?

They money went to the oil producing nations. Haven't you noticed that Iran and Venezuela are in big trouble because their entire budgets are based on $80+ per barrel oil?


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By foolsgambit11 on 1/20/2009 7:39:01 PM , Rating: 2
You can't deny, though, that global demand has been reduced in the past six months, as well. I'm not saying there wasn't speculation, but there's a good reason for prices to drop. And remember that the relation between supply/demand and price isn't linear. If demand only slightly exceeds supply, people will pay whatever it takes to get the gas they need. Who here reduced their gas use when it was $3.00? I didn't. That's part of why it went to $4.00. The price will continue to rise until demand equals supply - and China's demand, among others, has (or had) been steadily increasing for the past decade.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By codeThug on 1/20/2009 7:46:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They money went to the oil producing nations.


Not all of it. And please don't blame it on off-line refineries. That gig is so lame. Every time a refinery goes off line it's usually due to scheduled preventative maintenance. In other words it's a planned outage. Occasionally it's storm related. And since there was no spike in gas consumption at that time the refinery argument is just fluff.

The drop in oil is the "news" here. It was merely the larger speculators (ponzi artists) dumping their paper barrels on the market and cashing in.

quote:
Whats happening now is the market is readjusting to where it should be based on supply and demand

No it's not. The huge drop was due to an artificial supply problem brought on by the speculators. We've cut our gasoline consumption by what, 5%. So oil drops from $150/bbl to $32/bbl or roughly 80% based on normal supply and demand. I don't think so.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By mdogs444 on 1/20/2009 8:01:20 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
No it's not. The huge drop was due to an artificial supply problem brought on by the speculators.

Thats merely what I was saying. I did say that the original increase was due to speculation, so the drop is a readjustment to where we are supposed to be.

quote:
Not all of it. And please don't blame it on off-line refineries. That gig is so lame.

I didnt, I linked it to the likeness of speculation.


By StevoLincolnite on 1/21/2009 5:28:13 AM , Rating: 2
Not sure what the U.S was like, but here every time there was a "Petrol Issue" Prices would increase INSTANTLY, however when the reversed happened... They took there time to lower the prices, Now the price of petrol is sitting at a comfortable $1.09 per Litre, or $4.10 per Gallon here in Australia.
(Better than the $1.80 per litre I saw at one stage, which ends up as $6.86 per gallon).
However that is in a rural part of Australia where the costs were higher than the city areas.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By Aloonatic on 1/21/2009 5:09:19 AM , Rating: 2
Like house prices, the rise in oil prices had a route in the old adage of:

"something is worth whatever people are willing to pay for it" or more accurately "something is worth whatever people think that they can afford to pay for it".

For a while these high prices were sustained by the personal credit bubble, but seeing as that has well and truly burst, people realised that they could not buy the amount/level of Gas/Petrol and Housing that they were before and the prices have had to drop.

There's an element of supply and demand there but in this crazy topsy-turvy world of the last 10 years or so the supply and demand was on both sides of the equation.

That is the supply and demand of/for the goods and the supply and demand for the credit/money that was being used to pay for them.

The whole thing is an utter mess which someone really should have been regulating better but too many people were coming out with too many big sacks of money from more than just the speculators offices and too many politicians made their reputations (looking at you Gordon Brown) for the "financial success" and "Overseeing The Golden of Banking" over the last few years to want to stop the merry-go-round.

Speculators were simply doing their jobs, as were the oil companies. It's their jobs to make as much money as they can for both themselves and their shareholders. If someone puts $4/gallon on the gas/petrol pump and then lots of people roll up and keep on filing up their cars/vans/trucks etc with it, then why not keep pushing up the prices? The same goes for house prices too. Or should everyone who made a bundle on selling their home recently be made to pay too?

The regulatory bodies and politicians who were all to happy to stand idly by as the credit funded financial boom grew and grew without ever asking the question "How can people afford these expensive houses/gas prices?" and do something about it before it all went so predictably and horribly wrong are the people whom we should probably be looking at if blame is to be shared around.


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By BAFrayd on 1/20/2009 6:40:48 PM , Rating: 2
Great! So when do they start rounding up the banking and the oil company heads?


RE: Regional cable monopolies
By Screwballl on 1/21/2009 12:07:29 AM , Rating: 2
thats why I was hoping that several ISPs bought some of the airwaves that were freed up by the analog to digital TV switch... and actually give some semblance of competition.


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