Sharp Fined by Japan FTC Over LCD Sales to Nintendo

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Sharp has been fined by Japan's Fair Trade Commission as part of an investigation into price fixing of LCD (liquid crystal display) modules for Nintendo's popular DS handheld gaming device.

Sharp, which is one of the world's largest LCD makers, has been instructed to pay ¥261 million (US$3 million) by March 19 next year, it said in a statement. The fine is related to LCD modules supplied to Nintendo from late October 2005 to March 2006.

Additionally Sharp received a cease-and-desist notice from the Fair Trade Commission over LCD modules sold to Nintendo between January and March 2007 for the DS Lite.

Sharp denies engaging in any activities that violate the country's Antimonopoly Act.

The company said that it and Hitachi Display supply modules to Nintendo but that other display makers can compete for the same business and so price-fixing could not take place. It also said it "made continuous efforts to reduce costs and conducted price negotiations" with Nintendo to meet prices demanded by the DS maker as close as possible.

"We understand there is no precedent in Japan that a cartel in violation of Antimonopoly Act was found for a specific product which was sold to one private company

for use of a single product model," it said in the statement. "Therefore, since Sharp would like to insist its company's view on this matter, we will determine next steps including whether to request a hearing."

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