updated 08:10 am EST, Mon December 26, 2011
Seiko Epson chooses to pay Nokia over threat
Seiko Epson stated Monday that it was paying Nokia $80 million to settle its part of a Nokia lawsuit over price fixing for cellphone LCDs. Although Seiko Epson still denied that it colluded with others on artificially hiking LCD prices, it decided to pay $80 million rather than risk a product ban. Nokia wasn't requiring an admission of liability in return for dropping the lawsuits, but Seiko Epson argued that it was being pressed into a payment it wasn't ready to make.
"Epson has denied liability and vigorously defended the lawsuits," it said. "Because of the ongoing impacts of the lawsuits on its business and the expense of continuing litigation, however, the company has determined that settlement of the litigation is in Epson’s best interests."
The company will take an "extraordinary loss" of $80 million for the fall quarter.
A settlement would come half a year after Nokia got a settlement out of Apple for alleged patent violation and would come as Nokia was trying to shore up its finances during the switch to Windows Phone. It has lost much of its share, both in smartphones and general cellphones, and may not necessarily see phones like the Lumia 800 offset whatever losses it faces from the declining Symbian platform. Most of Nokia's smartphone users have gone either to the iPhone or to an Android device.
While the accusations of LCD price fixing haven't been corroborated, settlements could see companies more aggressively price mobile displays and lower the cost at a time when the screens are often getting bigger and potentially more expensive.