22.10.19 HP has won $176 million in a six-year lawsuit against suppliers.
HP on Tuesday won a six-year lawsuit against suppliers it accused of setting prices: a jury in Texas awarded $176 million to the American computer giant. Back in October 2013, HP accused at least seven optical drive manufacturers-Toshiba, Samsung, Sony, NEC, Panasonic, TEAC and Quanta - of conspiring with each other to force the PC assembler to pay more than the fair market price allowed. HP at one time created a platform for online bidding between suppliers of optical drives like CD-ROM, CD-R/RW, Blu-ray, DVD in order to get a good price for wholesale purchases. But instead of encouraging price competition, optical drive manufacturers, HP said in its lawsuit, colluded in pricing to raise prices and force the manufacturer to pay more. The case dragged on for years, and gradually, one by one, the suppliers agreed to pay HP undisclosed amounts, which in fact confirmed the validity of the charges. All the named companies were paid, except Quanta, which this month finally appeared before a jury, and the latter in their verdict pleaded guilty.
HP's lawyers provided jurors with numerous emails discussing ways companies could keep their prices high and effectively circumvent the online bidding procedure. And HP employees told the court that they felt "betrayed" by the people they had worked with for a long time before. And it worked.
It was only after the us government's Department of justice conducted an investigation into alleged price collusion on optical drives that HP decided to dig a little deeper. In 2011, a joint venture between Hitachi and LG made a plea deal with prosecutors for fixing the price of optical drives. HP launched a larger lawsuit in which it complained that the volume of purchases of disk drives at artificially inflated prices amounted to billions of dollars over several years.