Samsung Admission Could Aid Rambus - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Samsung Admission Could Aid Rambus

A plea agreement made public last week between Samsung and the U.S. government could help Rambus' antitrust case.

SAN FRANCISCO — Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. admitted that it conspired with other companies to fix the price of Rambus DRAM (RDRAM) between Jan. 1, 2001 and June 15, 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) plea agreement that company representatives signed last month.

Samsung admitted that it conspired with other companies to control the price of double data rate DRAM and synchronous DRAM during "at least certain periods" from April 1, 1999 to June 15, 2002, according to the text of the agreement.

As first reported by the Wall Street Journal, the plea agreement, made public last week, could work in favor of memory interface licensor Rambus Inc., which is currently suing Samsung and other DRAM manufacturers for antitrust violations. The time period covered in the plea agreement corresponds with allegations brought by Rambus against Samsung, Micron Technology Inc. and Hynix Semiconductor.

In June, Rambus added Samsung as a defendant to the pending antitrust suit against Hynix and Micron. Rambus and Germany's Infineon Technologies AG reached a settlement on antitrust claims in March.

Rambus has charged that a group of companies, including Samsung, Hynix and Micron, colluded in a "concerted and unlawful effort to eliminate competition and stifle innovation in the market for computer memory technology and computer memory chips." The original Rambus suit also claimed that the defendants limited the marketplace in terms of DRAM technologies, especially for the adoption of the RDRAM memory interface.

Though Samsung "invested in, promoted and marketed RDRAM" during the period relevant period, the company conspired to fix the price of RDRAM at times between in 2001 and 2002, according to the plea agreement.

Samsung plead guilty Oct. 13 to a one-count felony charge of conspiring with other DRAM manufacturers to fix the price of memory chips sold in the U.S. The company agreed to pay a $300 million fine — the second largest criminal antitrust fine in U.S. history.

Details of the plea agreement remained sealed until Nov. 23. The plea agreement remains tentative pending a Wednesday (Nov. 30) plea hearing in U.S. District Court here.

Seven current and former Samsung executives are specifically excluded from the plea agreement, meaning that they could still be implicated and potentially charged with wrongdoing by the DOJ. The excluded executives include Young Hwan Park, CEO of Samsung's U.S. subsidiary, Samsung Semiconductor Inc.

Earlier this year, Hynix agreed to pay a $185 million fine in connection with the U.S. antitrust probe. Last year, Infineon agreed to pay a $160 million fine.

A Micron executive in New York state was charged last year in connection with the federal DRAM probe. Micron accepted the executive's resignation, and has said it is cooperating in the probe.

According to the plea agreement, the conspiracy between Samsung and other DRAM manufacturers directly affected Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Compaq Computer Corp., IBM Corp., Apple Computer Inc. and Gateway Inc.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
11 Things IT Professionals Wish They Knew Earlier in Their Careers
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/6/2021
Time to Shift Your Job Search Out of Neutral
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/31/2021
Does Identity Hinder Hybrid-Cloud and Multi-Cloud Adoption?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  4/1/2021
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Successful Strategies for Digital Transformation
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll