“Samsung, the world’s largest maker of memory chips for computers and other electronic gadgets, has agreed to plead guilty to price fixing and pay a $300 million fine, U.S. officials said Thursday,” The Associated Press reports. “The penalty is the second-largest criminal antitrust fine ever and caps a three-year investigation into the largest makers of dynamic random access memory computer chips, a $7.7 billion market in the United States.”
“The guilty plea to the single felony charge by South Korea-based Samsung Electronics and its U.S. subsidiary, Samsung Semiconductor, was to be entered Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco,” AP reports. “Samsung’s top competitor, Seoul-based Hynix, agreed earlier this year to plead guilty to price fixing and pay a $185 million fine. Last September, rival Infineon Technologies of Germany agreed to a $160 million fine. Another competitor, Micron Technology of Boise, has been cooperating with prosecutors and was not expected to face charges.”
“The government accused the companies of conspiring in e-mails, telephone calls and face-to-face meetings to fix prices of memory chips between April 1999 and June 2002. The chips are used in digital recorders, personal computers, printers, video recorders, mobile phones and many other electronics,” AP reports. “The government said the victims of the alleged price-fixing were Dell, Compaq Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Apple Computer, IBM and Gateway. Barrett said Apple and Dell raised computer prices to compensate, and other companies responded by reducing the amount of memory installed in computers they sold but kept consumer prices the same.”
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