The Leegin rule allows manufacturers to set retail prices under certain circumstances, although the Supreme Court seemed to make clear that they would be more suspicious if the manufacturer imposing RPM had significant marketing power (which, to belabor the obvious, Sony has more of than Leegin does). Still, I'm sure Sony had a battalion of lawyers study this before proceeding.
Eliminating price competition among retailers for high-end cameras and TVs is a great benefit for consumers — or so Sony executives argued Thursday.
At a chat with reporters in New York, Stan Glasgow, the president of Sony Electronics in the United States, and Jay Vandenbree, the company’s president for consumer sales, discussed its new rule that bans retailers from discounting Sony’s Alpha digital camera line, its more expensive televisions and some other high-end products.
Mr. Vandenbree said that by having the price for these products be the same at all retailers, Sony had eliminated stress for buyers.
“Consumers don’t have to worry about whether I can get a better deal at retailer A or retailer B,” he said. “Everybody gets the best deal.” He said stores can now compete on other attributes, like education and support.Mr. Vandenbree said this program was part of the reason that the Alpha line was gaining share in the single-lens reflex camera market.
As a reminder, the FTC is going to have workshops soon on this subject.