Business

Micron, Samsung Top Offenders In Price Fixing Settlement

In a settlement announced Tuesday, Micron and Samsung were listed as the top offenders in a price fixing settlement for sales of DRAM computer chips between 1998 and 2002. The legal agreement came out of the U.S. District Court for Northern California.

Micron has agreed to pay $66.7 million and Samsung will cough up $113 million for their portions of the settlement. Together the two firms accounted for more than half of the settlement. Micron now owns Elpida which owes $4.26 million which would make the Micron total north of $70 million.

Here is a complete list of defendants and the settlement amounts:

Company Contribution
Elpida
$4,259,948
Hitachi
$5,600,000
Hynix
$49,971,842
Infineon
$29,113,776
Micron
$66,774,984
Mitsubishi
$5,600,000
Mosel
$2,848,900
Nanya
$3,823,200
NEC
$20,277,350
Samsung
$113,000,000
Toshiba
$7,450,000
Winbond
$2,000,000
Total
$310,720,000

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden issued the following press release today.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today a victory for consumers who purchased computers and other electronic devices at prices artificially inflated by allegations of price fixing among the major manufacturers of Dynamic Random Access Memory “DRAM” computer chips.

Idaho and other states have obtained initial court approval of a $310 million settlement with the makers of DRAM chips, clearing the way for consumers to begin filing claims. Eligible consumers include those who paid for the DRAM or for the various electronic devices built with the memory chips, such as desktop and laptop computers, printers and video game consoles.

“I am pleased the manufacturers worked with the states to reach an agreement that appropriately addresses our concerns and resolves this matter on behalf of Idaho consumers,” Wasden said. “Idaho’s governments, businesses and consumers spent significant amounts of money on products that contain DRAM. When those costs are inflated by unlawful anti-competitive practices, as we have alleged in this case, we have a duty to help consumers recover their money.”

After completing an investigation in 2006, Idaho joined more than 30 other states in a federal antitrust lawsuit against DRAM makers. Wasden alleged Idaho consumers overpaid for electronics built with DRAM, a common form of memory chip used in high technology devices.

The settlement is designed to help individuals and businesses that purchased DRAM or devices containing the memory chips in the United States between 1998 and 2002 from someone other than a DRAM manufacturer, such as retailers like Best Buy or Staples.

Under terms of the settlement, DRAM manufacturers must also establish antitrust compliance programs and are prohibited from future conduct related to the sale of DRAM that could conflict with antitrust laws.

To receive money from the settlement, eligible consumers must submit a claim form by August 1, 2014, with the settlement administrator. The amount received depends on the type and quantity of electronic devices purchased and number of claims submitted. The minimum payment back to consumers is estimated at $10, though some could receive more.

To file a claim, visit www.DRAMclaims.com or call 1-800-589-1425.

Claims can be submitted if consumers bought one or more of the following items between 1998 and 2002:

· Desktop computers
· Laptop computers
· Computer servers
· Computer graphics cards
· Printers
· Video game consoles
· MP3 players
· PDAs
· DVD players
· Digital video recorders

Consumers who bought other devices with DRAM memory may also be eligible to file a claim.

Idaho also pursued monetary relief for purchases made by the state’s local governments, universities and colleges during the four-year period. These agencies and institutions should anticipate receiving compensation from a separate portion of the settlement, with details to be announced after final court approval of the settlements.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. As usual, Mr. Wasden has joined other Attorneys General in a settlement. Has Mr. Wasden ever initiated a major lawsuit and won?

  2. It would be interesting to see how much of the profits from the artificial inflation when to campaign contributions. Also how many members of legislature took money from these companies, and then it would be interesting to see what bills those people voted for, or introduced in support of these companies.

    Lets see how far this rabbit hole goes…

  3. chicago sam
    Mar 4, 2014, 7:31 pm

    I have been thru one of these lawsuits before in which the lowly consumer was awarded part of the settlement after attorney fees. The company was General Motors and I received a check for $500.00. It was redeemable at my local GM dealer–if I bought a new pickup

  4. If they agreed to pay 310 million I wonder how much they really stole

  5. $10.
    Yes, my CHEAP computer is obviously way overpriced due to DRAM manufacturers conspiring(one of the most competitive pricing industries in existence).

    Attorneys!

  6. Rod in SE Boise
    Mar 6, 2014, 9:22 pm

    Who among us still has a computer that is 10-14 years old? Who among us still has proof that they purchased such a device way back then?

  7. chicago sam
    Mar 7, 2014, 9:40 am

    Rod raises a good point. You will note the most recent product was marketed in 2002 and it took 12 years to reach a settlement. The key word is “settlement” not a guilty verdict. The cost of defending these lawsuits by company’s simply is astronomical but Attorneys view them as retirement plans. While the Attorney General can trumpet this success?? one has to wonder how much of the $30 million in outside Attorney fees that he is using as justification for expanding his office is actually recovered. Taking 12 years to reach a settlement is not justice for anyone.

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