Sony Buys LCD Panels from Sharp
In a move designed to give Sony the ability to meet increased LCD television production, the TV giant is going to begin purchasing larger LCD panels (40-inch and up) from Sharp as early as April of this year. Earlier this year Sony had announced that it will no longer engage on any display technology outside of LED and OLED, making the manufacturer the largest company to focus on a single technology - and the first of that scale to to completely drop microdisplays and rear projection sets. Currently, Sony works closely with Samsung, Electronics, having a joint venture in LCD panel production, however a recent lawsuit between their partner and Sharp may have had some affect on their working relationship.
The number of panels to be purchased is expected to be around 4 million units per year by 2009, boosting Sony's LCD sales to around 20 million units. This plays well into expected forecasts for increased LCD television consumption in the US and worldwide, which is expected to double by 2012.
Sharp is also on the cusp of some new thin-LCD technology, having already agreed to sell panels to Toshiba earlier this year. Sharp is definitely on the cutting edge and has existing patents which may prove difficult to overcome in the fast-moving, cutthroat business of LCD panel production. They are planning on ramping up LCD panel production output in Japan 50-percent by this summer and are in the midst of production on the world's largest LCD panel factory. The plant is scheduled to be completed in 2010 at a cost of nearly $4 billion.
Samsung and Sony are in constant competition for leadership of the worldwide LCD market, however Sony's move to exclusively manufacture LCD TVs has been recent and has yet to be realized in terms of how it affects marketshare.
But it doesn't quite reach the echelon that is DAAMIT (ATI + AMD) coined by The Inquirer.