Late $440m Christmas present for HP: Judge triples damages windfall from Quanta in CD-ROM drive price-fix showdown

Thanks to America's antitrust laws

A US judge on Friday tripled the damages Quanta Storage owes HP Inc to $439m for unlawfully hiking the price of optical disc drives.

In October last year, a Texas jury awarded the American PC and printers giant a $176m windfall, footed by Quanta Storage for conspiring with rival manufacturers to inflate the price of optical drives sold to HP.

Hitachi-LG, Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, and a few other manufacturers of optical disc drives – think CD-ROM, CD-R/RW, Blu-ray, DVD, and similar ‒ earlier settled allegations of price fixing, in lawsuits brought by HP Inc, out of court. Quanta, on the other hand, opted to take the matter to trial, and lost to HP.

And now, this week, Taiwan-based Quanta Storage and its stateside wing have been ordered by federal district Judge David Hittner to cough up three times the initial damages award, minus $89m for settlement money already paid to HP by other drive builders, as allowed under US antitrust law, bringing the total owed to $438,650,000.

You can read the judge's final ruling, here [PDF].

Quanta declined to comment. HP's lawyer Alex Roberts told Bloomberg: "HP hopes this judgment sends a powerful message to suppliers all over the world that there are significant consequences when you violate US antitrust laws." ®

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