Oracle to sue Micron

Oracle is kicking off at Micron Technology.

It’s suing the semi conductor firm claiming that it overcharged Sun Microsystems, which Oracle acquired, by conspiring to fix prices for computer memory chips.

Oracle claimed in an antitrust complaint filed on the 24 September in a federal court in San Jose California, that Micron and other makers of DRAM, artificially inflated the price of chips they sold to Sun.

The case is partly based on a 2002 U.S. Justice Department investigation of price fixing in the memory-chip industry. At the time this led to claims against four companies and 16 people were fined around $731 million. Micron cooperated with US officials in exchange for not being charged with a crime, according to Oracle’s complaint. Which is interesting because Oracle got in hot water with the US government for overcharging recently.

Oracle said in its complaint that the memory manufacturers “conspired to control production capacity, raise prices or slow their decline, allocate customers, and otherwise unlawfully overcharge their DRAM customers.”

Other companies it pointed the finger at were HynixSamsung and Infineon, although they aren’t named as defendants in the papers.

From 1998 to 2002, Sun bought more than $2 billion worth of DRAM in the U.S. for its servers and work stations, according to the complaint. Oracle now wants to recover unspecified damages for violations of federal and California antitrust laws, and the company claims those damages should be tripled according to those laws.

Micron declined to comment.

We can’t help but find it slightly fishy that the announcement comes just days after it said it wanted to start buying semiconductor companies to boost its position in the market.