Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
HP Businesses

HP Sues Seven Optical Drive Makers Over Price-Fixing 91

Posted by samzenpus
from the level-playing-field dept.
Lucas123 writes "HP has filed a lawsuit against seven makers of optical disk drive technology, claiming the companies engaged in widespread price fixing in order to drive up the cost of Blu-ray, DVD and CD drives for PC and peripheral equipment makers. The suit was filed Thursday at the district court in Houston against Toshiba, Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, NEC, TEAC and Quanta Storage. The lawsuit claims the conspiracy to drive up prices took place from at least Jan. 1, 2004 through Jan. 1, 2010, when "almost all forms of home entertainment and data storage were on optical discs" and the companies controlled 90% of the optical disk market. HP alleges the companies used industry events, such as CES, as cover to communicate competitive information and hammer out anticompetitive agreements."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

HP Sues Seven Optical Drive Makers Over Price-Fixing

Comments Filter:
  • Unless they have insiders who are willing to testify, I think they are going to have a very hard time proving their case.

    • Unless they have insiders who are willing to testify, I think they are going to have a very hard time proving their case.

      Unless insiders are willing to become criminals and possibly go to jail for the benefit of their companies, this should be no problem. As an insider, you are not really asked whether you want to testify or not.

      • by dave562 (969951)

        I am making the assumption that nobody was stupid enough to create a PowerPoint deck labeled "How to price fix optical drives." Given that the article summary says that the accused went so far as to conceal their interactions under the guise of regular industry events like CES, I doubt they are going to find any sort of smoking gun during discovery.

        Without information or evidence, there is nothing to compel the testimony or prove perjury.

        HP Lawyer, "Did you collude with others to fix the prices on optical

    • by Sangui5 (12317)

      Except that HP did innovate; HP developed core standards essential IP for everything DVD+R and on. You can't build a BluRay burner without using HP's innovations. HP didn't decide to go it alone and build a whole optical drive ecosystem by themselves, but instead licensed their innovations to others.

      Of course, since the IP is standards essential, it is 99% certain to be licensed on fixed-fee-per-unit FRAND terms. So if a monopolist or a cartel decide to sell fewer units at a higher price, the people who ac

  • Isn't the refrain - borne out by numerous financial statements by the sued companies and others besides - that optical drives are pricing themselves into extinction with razor-thin margins due to fierce competition and decreasing demand? It's possible HP has a valid point or has stumbled onto evidence, but this sounds more like flailing before declaring that optical drives will be an optional feature going forward...
    • by mlts (1038732) * on Monday October 28, 2013 @06:59PM (#45263795)

      The ironic thing is that optical drives, though boring, have their use. For example, I can pay $10 a month for 100 gigs on a cloud storage, or I can pay for a few Blu-Ray blanks, burn the data, and call it done. From there on out, the cost of storing the data is pretty much $0. To boot, it is very difficult for malware to tamper with media finalized on BD-R media.

      Yes, a hard disk is cheap and can store a lot, but for small documents, nothing beats burning to WORM media for long term archiving.

      It would be nice if the 100GB BD disks came down in price. Next to a modern LTO drive, it would be very useful for backups.

      • by evilviper (135110)

        it is very difficult for malware to tamper with media finalized on BD-R media.

        ...but very easy for a GRAIN OF SAND, or a SMALL AMOUNT OF LIGHT to tamper with your media.

        It's a shame disc caddies never took-off... Optical media is immensely easier to handle when you never have to remove it from its protective case.

        • by adolf (21054)

          Agreed: Caddies are good. Easy to handle, and protected by default. I wish, especially, that game consoles would adopt them (because game discs are expensive and essentially impossible to usefully duplicate), but that's not going to happen this generation.

          Panasonic (aka Matsushita) tries hard to make disc-caddies stick at about every iteration: It was they who made the first CD-ROM drives that required caddies, back in the day, and they were chief proponents of DVD-RAM discs in caddies.

          The latter of the

          • by urdak (457938)

            Agreed: Caddies are good. Easy to handle, and protected by default. I wish, especially, that game consoles would adopt them (because game discs are expensive and essentially impossible to usefully duplicate)

            The problem here is, of course, disks you cannot duplicate. Not the lack of caddies.

            After my children's DVDs were often scratched and destroyed I started duplicating them and letting the kids watch the duplicates. The DVD industry would have you think that by duplicating a DVD I'm a pirate. They are idiots - the real pirates don't duplicate CDs they already bought - they download from the 'net, and never bother with DVDs...

            • by evilviper (135110)

              The problem here is, of course, disks you cannot duplicate. Not the lack of caddies.

              Both are issues, but caddies could be a big part of the solution.

              After my children's DVDs were often scratched and destroyed I started duplicating them and letting the kids watch the duplicates.

              Now imagine you could make one duplicate, and it would NEVER get scratched, NEVER get dirty, NEVER deteriorate from being left out in the sun, etc.

              Making extra copies to compensate is only treating one symptom, while the disease conti

            • by jbo5112 (154963)

              Actually (IIRC), the head of the MPAA thinks that making a backup copy of the DVD you purchased qualifies as fair use. It's the DMCA and the US Federal Government that considers it illegal. The Library of Congress is responsible as the legal authority of what is fair use, and I have yet to see them issue an exemption for making a personal backup. Rules on Blu-Ray are potentially different, as the CSS protection has been given exemptions that don't apply to other DRM. Rules on copying CD's are completely

      • by adolf (21054)

        If your documents are small, just write them to DVD-R.

        Appending the archive securely (ie, redundantly) and keeping it fresh is easy and doesn't require any multi-session failure modes:

        Copy DVD-R to hard drive, install new documents into the directory structure on the hard drive, and then write the whole mess back to a new DVD-R. Verify the burn.

        (Script all of this, if necessary.)

        After that, shred the original*.

        Next! (Unless I missed something about what "small documents" means.)

        *: This seems wasteful, an

    • by Reziac (43301) *

      Then how it it LiteOn stays in business? They've been near the bottom of the price ladder since the beginning, despite having the best longevity outside of maybe Panasonic.

      As I say above, I doubt HP's purchasing dept. really looked at the market options; rather, they went with one of the big companies because, well, they're like HP, rather than being some supplier-of-rebadges like LiteOn largely is. Which in my mind is not due diligence, as they could probably have bought 3 LiteOns (and had happier customer

  • by bernywork (57298) <bstapleton.gmail@com> on Monday October 28, 2013 @07:17PM (#45263965) Journal

    Hang on, no groklaw.

    Damn

  • I'm sure that HP will pass along anything it wins in the lawsuit on to it's customers that bought those overpriced drives. /s

  • EU's been targeting optical drive makers as well (last year):
    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-12-830_en.htm?locale=en [europa.eu]

    Another case was in 2004:
    http://bonizack.com/in-re-optical-disk-drive-products-antitrust-litigation-mdl-no-2143 [bonizack.com]

    I also think there was one in the late 90's, but google-fu is failing me.

  • I mean if they want to be relevant, why not sue Apple, Google and Amazon for price fixing digital content. you know, something fucking relevant.

    • by darue (2699381)
      they should be sued. the company has been absolutely ruined. the prices even then were cheap, 7 companies controlled 90% of the market? Fucking hell of a lot better than MOST ANYTHING going on in this country. Choices for internet I have: three. one and a half of which are comcast, the other shitty phone company dsl. This is actually the NEXT BIG THING. American consumers are getting screwed constantly by these middleman companies that just slap a logo on commodity grade goods and sell it for an absurd ma
  • What's an "optical drive?"
    • An outdated apparatus for getting video off of these entirely impractical plastic media storage "discs" that are wrapped in 3 different kinds of DRM and annoying as fuck to use. Even the BluRays I actually do buy are sitting unopened in a closet somewhere - downloading an HDRip is faster than ripping and encoding myself, even with a 4x4.5Ghz i5...

      Long live MKV.

  • I was working at Compaq during the takeover. hp was livid when they found out Compaq was getting an identical HDD from a manufacturer for less than hp was paying. That was a good day...

    I guess they never got over it.
  • with chips so they cannot be refilled easily... This awdda be gud!

You will lose an important disk file.

Working...