Department of Justice probe eyes Sony's rechargeable battery business

After the headache-inducing bout of hacking woes that beset the corporation in recent weeks, a new Department of Justice-led investigation into Sony's US electronics division may have the company emptying that aspirin bottle. Details of the inquiry are scarce at the moment, but with the company's cooperation confirmed, all signs lead to an alleged price fixing of its rechargeable battery business. Citing data from a Tokyo-based research firm, a Bloomberg report indicates that a 2010 market surplus had Sony Electronics (amongst others) lowering battery prices at the expense of less financially-cushioned players. The notorious sector of the multinational's operations has been in the hot seat before -- namely, for actual laptop explosions -- but this time 'round the judicial maypole, it seems the Japanese giant may have been partaking in some anti-competitive shenanigans. If the DoJ hammer does happen to fall on Sony's already bowed head, the company could be facing a very expensive slap on the wrist and a fundamental change to its business practices. Luckily for Sony, we happen to believe in a little something called "innocent until proven guilty."