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DOJ widens anti-trust optical drive probe

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On Monday, Sony's US optical drive subsidiary said it was being investigated by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with anti-trust activities in the optical drive market. The net has now widened to include Toshiba and Hitachi.

Japan's Nikkei English News has reported that both Hitachi and Toshiba's US-based optical drive businesses are being looked at by the DOJ. The two companies involved are Hitachi-LG Data Storage and Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology, and both have received subpoenas. Together with Sony Optiarc they account for almost two thirds of the US optical drive market.

This widening of the DOJ's net suggests that it's the DVD drive market that is being looked at rather than Sony's Blu-ray business.

Apparently the DOJ has been checking for cartel operations in the computer business for many months.

Last year it bust a cartel aimed at keeping LCD screen prices high, with three manufacturers fined more than half a billion dollars. Hitachi and LG were involved in that scam and were fined. Is there another cartel worm in the Hitachi and LG can? ®

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