The US Department of Justice has announced that Hynix Semiconductor, the Korean DRAM maker, has agreed to plead guilty to charges that it participated in an international conspiracy to fix prices in the multi-billion dollar DRAM market.
Hynix will be fined $185 million for the offence – the third-largest criminal antitrust fine in US history and the largest in five years.
From April 1, 1999 to June 15, 2002, Hynix conspired to fix the prices of DRAM sold to certain computer and server manufacturers. Customers directly affected by the price-fixing conspiracy were Dell, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Apple Computer, IBM and Gateway.
Hynix is the second major semiconductor company, after the German manufacturer Infineon, to plead guilty to fixing DRAM prices.
In October 2004, the German outfit pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy and was ordered to pay a $160 million fine.