It's A Japanese Thing. You Wouldn't Understand

HotHardware told you yesterday about Sony and Sharp teaming up to build a tenth generation LCD factory in Japan. But Sony already has ... had a partner to produce LCD screens: Korean electronic powerhouse Samsung. What happened to make Sony fall out of bed with Samsung and team up with Sharp? Is it really just a Japanese thing?

Against a backdrop where Japanese and Korean enterprises have long beared [sic]grudges against each other, the head-on competition between Sony and Samsung in the TV market, and the Japanese government's repeated calls for consolidation between domestic firms, have prompted Sony to return to the "Japanese camp" by partnering with Sharp on 10G production. Many critics have read the Sony and Sharp move as an attempt by the Japanese electronics industry to counter the expansion of Samsung.

In fact, there were already signs last year that Sony would give up its collaboration with Samsung when both companies expressed different views on the development of 10G lines. Last April, Jun H Souk, Samsung's executive vice president of LCD and R&D center, said the company was assessing the glass substrate size for its 10G line although no construction schedule had been set. But four months later, Sony said it was conservative about building a next generation line. It was a sign that both companies had differences concerning 10G production. Later Sony announced that it would adopt Sharp's panels for 40-inch-and-larger LCD TVs, with plans to source 3-5 million panels a year beginning in April 2008.

Digitimes sees a possible move by Samsung to partner up with one or more Taiwanese manufacturers to counter the new Sony/Sharp consortium.  Samsung is the largest vendor of LCD TVs in the world right now, but that could change in a hurry. Japan choosing up sides against Korea and China. Sounds vaguely familiar. As long as Germany doesn't invade Poland we should be OK.
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