Sony Abandons Planned Stake in PDP Venture

Sony Corp said on Thursday it had scrapped plans announced more than two years ago to take an equity stake in a joint venture that makes plasma display panels (PDPs) for the fast-growing flat-screen TV market.

The pull-out had long been a subject of media speculation after Sony repeatedly said it had not yet followed through on a plan announced in April 2000 to pay $40 million for a 15 percent stake in Fujitsu (news - web sites) Hitachi Plasma Display, a joint venture between Fujitsu Ltd and Hitachi Ltd , the world's largest PDP producer.

A Sony spokesman said the company would continue making plasma TVs and would purchase plasma displays from the Fujitsu-Hitachi venture as well as NEC (news - web sites) Corp and other suppliers.

Plasma displays are considered the most promising technology for flat-screen TVs of 40 inches or more.

Research firm DisplaySearch estimates that global demand for plasma TVs will rise to nearly four million units in 2005 from less than half a million this year.

Competition has been heating up among plasma display manufacturers, with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd announcing last month it would spend 60 billion yen on a new plasma display plant, aiming to become the industry's leading supplier.

The Sony spokesman added that his company had no plans to develop PDP technology on its own.

Sony has been focusing much of its R&D effort in flat-screen TV technologies on organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), although mass-production of TV-sized OLED screens is not expected until well into 2003, at the earliest.

News source: Yahoo! News

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