Six DRAM makers write $173 million cheque

Six top DRAM computer memory manufacturers are going to write a $173 million cheque to make the US 33 attorneys general go away with their anti-trust claims.

The settlement resolves a 2006 lawsuit filed by 33 attorneys general who claimed that consumers and state agencies that bought electronics containing DRAM paid higher prices from 1998 to 2002 due to price-fixing.

The six companies named and shamed are Elpida, Hynix, Infineon, Micron, Mosel Vitelic, and NEC.

Apparently the DRAM manufacturer cut production in order to artificially raise prices, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office claimed.

Several companies and executives pleaded guilty to criminal price-fixing actions brought by the US Department of Justice.

Under the deal the defendants in the states’ case have tentatively agreed to pay $173 million to the 33 states and private plaintiffs, and refrain from illegal price-fixing.

Already the the companies agreed to pay nearly $326 million to computer manufacturers that purchased DRAM directly. The European Commission also reached settlements with some of the companies resulting in $410 million in fines.

In 2007,  Samsung settled its case with Washington and other states for $90 million.

It is not over yet. Some outfits claimed that they didn’t do it, they were never there at the time, and it was broken when they got there. Those cases are still pending.