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October 13, 2005

Samsung Pays $300 Million to Settle DRAM Antitrust Claims

From The Department of Justice Press Release:

Samsung Electronics Company Ltd. (Samsung), a Korean manufacturer of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and its U.S. subsidiary, Samsung Semiconductor Inc., have agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $300 million fine for participating in an international conspiracy to fix prices in the DRAM market, the Department of Justice announced. Samsung's fine is the second largest criminal antitrust fine in U.S. history and the largest criminal fine since 1999.

According to the one-count felony charge filed today in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, from April 1, 1999 to June 15, 2002, Samsung and its U.S. subsidiary, Samsung Semiconductor Inc., conspired with other DRAM manufacturers to fix the prices of DRAM sold to certain computer and server manufacturers. The computer makers directly affected by the price-fixing conspiracy were: Dell Inc., Compaq Computer Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Company, Apple Computer Inc., International Business Machines Corporation, and Gateway Inc. Under the plea agreement, which must be approved by the court, Samsung has agreed to cooperate with the government in its ongoing investigation of other DRAM producers.

Samsung is charged with carrying out the conspiracy by:

  • Participating in meetings, conversations, and communications in the United States and elsewhere with competitors to discuss the prices of DRAM to be sold to certain customers;
  • Agreeing, during those meetings, conversations, and communications, to charge prices of DRAM at certain levels to be sold to certain customers;
  • Issuing price quotations in accordance with the agreements reached; and
  • Exchanging information on sales of DRAM to certain customers for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreed-upon prices.

Read about it in a story by CNET or Infoworld.

October 13, 2005 | Permalink

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