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By | Tony Smith 12th November 2004 10:21

Micron employees fixed DRAM prices

Feds found evidence, memory maker admits

Micron has effectively admitted that it has in the past engaged in schemes to control the price of memory chips.

However, it also said it was co-operating with the US Department of Justice price-fixing probe into the DRAM industry - co-operation that it believes with not leave it open to "prosecution, fines or other penalties".

In a statement, Micron CEO Steve Appleton said: "The DOJ's investigation revealed evidence of price fixing by Micron employees and its competitors on DRAM sold to certain computer and server manufacturers.

"Nevertheless, if Micron fully complies with the [DoJ's] Corporate Leniency Policy, Micron will not be subject to criminal sanctions or fines, notwithstanding Micron's involvement in the misconduct."

Working with the Feds on this one is clearly to Micron's benefit. Last August, Infineon was fined $160m by the DoJ - one of the organisation's stiffest fines - after it pleaded guilty to price-fixing charges arising from the same investigation of which Micron is a part.

That investigation has gone on since 2002 at least. In June that year, Micron was subpoenaed for information relating to the enquiry. Later that month, the DoJ sent a similar court-mandated demand for data to Samsung. The DoJ is known to be taking a look at all the world's major memory makers.

Despite the actions of the past, Micron now "deplores any effort to fix or stabilize prices and is committed to rectifying past behaviour and ensuring any misconduct will not recur", Appleton pledged. How? By implementing " global programs to ensure our employees understand how to interact appropriately with competitors, suppliers and customers". ®

Related stories

Infineon pleads guilty to memory price-fixing
DoJ lassos Samsung in memory probe
DoJ gets up Micron's nose

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