Nokia sues LCD manufacturers for alleged price fixing (update: joins AT&T)

Price fixing is nothing new in the LCD panel business. Hell, collusion is pretty common across the entire consumer electronics industry though it's difficult (and costly) to prove. Now Nokia, the world's largest maker of cellphones, is suing a who's who of Asian LCD manufacturers alleging a ploy to fix prices on handset LCDs. The November 25th filing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco division, names Samsung Electronics, LG Display, Sharp, Hitachi, and Chunghwa Picture Tubes as co-conspirators. Nokia, of course, is seeking cash and injunctive relief to remedy damages incurred and has the dubious honor of following another high-profile move launched against Apple just last month. With Nokia's high-margin smartphone sales waning against stiff competition, it's easy to understand why its execs would be miffed if they paid artificially high prices for panels considering the sheer volume of lower-priced handsets Nokia sells at razor thin margins.

Update: Just dawned on us that this lawsuit (which we now know claims an 11 company cartel operating from "at least" January 1, 1996 until Dec 11, 2006) joins the AT&T action kicked off in October. Pile on! Nokia has also filed suit in the UK against both LCD and CRT makers.