DRAM makers reach $310 million settlement in price fixing suit

A dozen companies agree to pay out to those who bought consoles, computers from 1998 through 2002

Twelve manufacturers of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) have reached a $310 million settlement in a class action lawsuit over allegations they conspired to fix memory prices from 1998 through 2002.

Those who purchased DRAM or products containing DRAM (like PCs and game consoles) during that span can now file claims through the settlement website to receive payments of at least $10 and more than $1,000, depending on the number of their purchases and the number of claims received. To be eligible for a payment, consumers must have purchased the DRAM in the US (or from a US seller), and cannot have made the purchase directly from one of the manufacturers.

Despite the settlement, the defendants--Elpida, Hitachi, Hynix, Infineon, Micron, Mitsubishi, Mosel, Nanya, NEC, Samsung, Toshiba, and Winbond--are denying they did anything wrong. However, they have agreed "not to engage in the conduct that is at issue in these lawsuits" and to educate employees on complying with the law.

Samsung was hit hardest, with its share of the settlement pool coming to $113 million. Micron was next with $66.77 million, followed by Hynix ($49.97 million), Infineon ($29.11 million), and NEX ($20.28 million). Approximately $200 million of the money is expected to go to impacted individuals and businesses, while attorneys' fees and various government and administration costs will account for the rest.

Claims must be made by August 1. A court hearing to approve the settlement and award attorneys' fees is scheduled for June 25.

More stories

Samsung unveils smart TV gaming hub

Manufacturer partners with Nvidia, Stadia and Utomik for new streaming platform

By Danielle Partis

Samsung scraps PlayGalaxy Link streaming service

Games streaming service canned after five-month beta trial period, ends March 27

By James Batchelor

Latest comments (2)

Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee7 years ago
RAM fixing cases and fines in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2013, 2014.

Probably missed some but there is a serious issue here. Not only are several of the major companies being dishonest, they have been holding back technology for more than a decade.

You know how consoles and other devices traditionally have puny memory because it is "too expensive" and subsequently one of the biggest problems in development? You know our devices have been strangely pricey? This probably only scratches the surface really and just about matches the record total Samsung once had to pay alone.

I have a feeling this particular case will only apply to US consumers though, so many will be left out.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 5th March 2014 10:55pm

1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 7 years ago
The DRAM industry can be pretty tough. While DRAM has low marginal costs, the capital costs for new manufacturing facilities are enormous. The market wants cheaper RAM more than anything else, and cyclic problems with oversupply help drive the perception that DRAM should be sold for very little more than its marginal cost (i.e., leaving nothing for the capital costs of making it) and tend to drive a "race to the bottom" in pricing.

Well, I can't imagine why anybody here would have sympathy for such a situation.

(Note: I'm not saying that the DRAM manufacturers weren't doing anything wrong; I'm just enjoying the irony of people speaking out of the other side of their faces when it's not their own industry with the problem.)
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.