Samsung found guilty

Samsung Electronics is to pay a $300 million fine after pleading guilty to fix prices in the DRAM market.


Korean DRAM manufacturer Samsung Electronics and its US subsidiary Samsung Semiconductor are to pay a $300 million fine after pleading guilty to US Department of Justice charges that it participated in an international conspiracy to fix prices in the DRAM market.


Samsung’s fine is the second largest criminal antitrust fine in US history and the largest criminal fine since 1999.


According to the one-count felony charge filed in the US District Court in San Francisco, CA, from April 1 1999 to June 15 2002, Samsung and its subsidiary conspired with other DRAM manufacturers to fix the prices of DRAM sold to certain computer and server manufacturers.


The computer makers directly affected were Dell, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Apple Computer, IBM and Gateway.


Samsung is the third major semiconductor company after the Korean manufacturer Hynix and the German manufacturer Infineon to plead guilty to fixing DRAM prices.


In May 2005, Hynix pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a $185 million criminal fine. In October 2004, Infineon pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay $160 million criminal fine.