If That's Price Fixing, You're Doing It Wrong
from the price-fixing-means-prices-don't-drop... dept
There was plenty of news coverage this week of the $585 million in criminal fines against Sharp, LG and Chunghwa for price fixing on LCD displays. LG is paying the largest share at $400 million -- though, in the interest of disclosure, I should note that I'm writing this post using an LG LCD monitor that I got for quite a good price a few months back. And that brings up an issue I haven't seen addressed anywhere, other than by Adam Theirer: if this was price fixing, the companies were doing it wrong. Prices on LCDs were sliding very quickly, and it while there may have been some collusion among these three providers, it didn't seem to do much good. That's partly because there were plenty of other providers in the market, so any attempt at collusion was rather ineffective in stopping the rapid decline in prices. Sure, collusion is a bad thing, but we see this over and over again in antitrust enforcement: regulators keep punishing certain activities without bothering to see if they actually do anything to harm consumers.