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Hitachi, Matsushita to collaborate on PDPs

Posted: 09 Feb 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:plasma display? pdp?

The reshuffling of order in the flat-panel display industry continued Monday (Feb. 7) with Japanese companies Matsushita and Hitachi agreeing to form a comprehensive collaboration on plasma display panels.

While the collaboration is expected to cover R&D, production, and marketing, and intellectual property sharing, details were not disclosed.

"We agreed on the collaboration today. We are going to boil down the best way to work together," said Kunio Nakamura, president of Matsushita.

Hitachi proposed the collaboration to Matsushita sometime at the end of last year. Hitachi was looking for the best way to operate Fujitsu Hitachi Plasma Display after it absorbed most of the assets of Fujitsu Hitachi Plasma Display Limited (FHP) from Fujitsu earlier this month.

Under the agreement, both companies intend to explore the possibility of using common components to lower costs. Also, engineers of both companies may work together on future plasma display technology development.

Cross-licensing is one key item. Hitachi intends to establish a company to manage its portfolio of over 1,000 PDP patents, most of which came from Fujitsu. Matsushita will consider investing in the company to maintain the cross-licensing relationship between the two companies.

Both companies, however, do not intend to merge their production or establish a joint venture company.

"Hitachi and Matsushita are competitors in the PDP TV market. We have no intention to totally merge the PDP business," said Etsuhiko Shoyama, president of Hitachi.

"The agreement may enable the two companies to enrich product variety," said Junzo Masuda, director, Displays Japan of iSuppli Japan K.K., the Japanese business unit of market research firm iSuppli Corp. "FHP's Alice technology is advantageous for relatively small sized PDPs, and Matsushita's high definition technology is advantageous for larger panels. This agreement is one effort to survive the harsh competition between Japan and Korea in the PDP market," he said.

The plasma display business is consolidating as high investment costs, competition from liquid crystal displays (LCDs), and increasing competition from Korean suppliers such as Samsung in PDPs is forcing Japanese suppliers to share resources or exit the business altogether.

Besides Fujitsu, Sony Corp. said in December it was considering getting out of plasma displays to focus on its LCD joint venture with Samsung, S-LCD Corp.

- Spencer Chin, Yoshiko Hara

EE Times

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