(Phoenix, Ariz. – Feb. 6, 2007) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced a $90 million settlement with Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. and Samsung Electronics Company Ltd., resolving allegations that Samsung and other leading computer chip manufacturers fixed the prices of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) chips. The chips are used in personal computers, servers, workstations and many other electronic devices.
The multi-state settlement provides restitution for consumers and state and local government agencies that paid more for computers and other electronic devices because of the price-fixing. Samsung admits no wrongdoing in the settlement, which is subject to court approval.
In addition to the monetary terms of the settlement, Samsung has agreed to strong injunctive relief that will require the company to refrain from engaging in any conduct that could substantially lessen competition. Samsung will also cooperate with the states in continuing litigation against other DRAM chip manufacturers.
A lawsuit alleging the same price-fixing scheme by at least seven other companies continues to move forward in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The lawsuit seeks money for consumers and government agencies that paid high prices for electronics from 1998 to 2002.
The companies named in that lawsuit include: Elpida Memory, Inc.; Hynix Semiconductor, Inc.; Infineon Technologies, AG; Micron Technology, Inc.; Mosel Vitelic, Inc.; Nanya Technology Corporation, and NEC Electronics America, Inc.
The lawsuit follows a federal criminal investigation that exposed a scheme in which DRAM manufacturers coordinated the prices they charged to original computer manufacturers. Those overcharges were then passed on to consumers. Samsung, Hynix, Infineon, Elpida and numerous individuals have pleaded guilty to federal criminal price-fixing charges and collectively paid more than $730 million in fines.
A claims process will be established after the court approves the settlement and an administrator is appointed.