Microchip firms settle price-fixing case

June 25, 2010 at 8:41 AM
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SACRAMENTO, June 25 (UPI) -- The state of California has reached a $173 million settlement with six computer chip makers charged in a price-fixing scheme.

In a statement, Attorney General Jerry Brown said the companies, including Micron Technology and NEC Electronics America, "conspired in an illegal global scheme to fix prices on chips used in computer equipment sold to consumers, schools and government offices."

Besides Micron and NEC, the settlement includes companies from Germany, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

The companies were accused of coordinating prices from 1998 to 2002 on "dynamic random access memory chips," known as DRAM, that go into a variety of devices.

The settlement, which also involved 32 state attorneys general, requires court approval, the newspaper said.

The settlement money will go to affected consumers and toward a training program on regulatory compliance for managers at the companies that participated in the scheme.

"The large price tag of this settlement should serve as a warning that we will crack down on any manufacturers around the world that choose to gouge consumers through illegal price-fixing schemes," Brown said.

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