Update: Europe fines nine chipmakers $404M over price fixing
IDG News Service -
European antitrust regulators fined nine semiconductor manufacturers more than $404 million (¬331 million) on Wednesday following a years-long investigation into price fixing in the market for DRAM memory chips.
The European Commission said all of the companies submitted settlements admitting their liability for infringement. The companies fined are Samsung Electronics, Infineon, Hynix Semiconductor, Elpida Memory, NEC Electronics, Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsubishi Electric and Nanya Technology.
A tenth company, Micron, escaped a fine since it told the Commission about the cartel in 2002. Four of the companies -- Infineon, Hynix, Samsung, Elpida and NEC -- applied for leniency, which reduced their fine. All of the companies received a 10% reduction for settling the case.
Joaquín Almunia, vice president of competition policy for the Commission, sought to allay concerns that the companies' settlement with the Commission diluted the effects of their actions.
"You may think that to use the word 'settlement' next to the word 'cartel' sounds quite strange," Almunia said. "So let me explain right away that we are not compromising on cartels, with or without a settlement. A cartel is the worst violation of competition rules since its object is to collude against the interests of other companies and of consumers."
It the first time the Commission used a settlement procedure put in place in 2008. The Commission says the procedure allows it to speed up investigations if companies acknowledge a violation. Resources can then be moved to investigate other suspected cartels, Alumunia said.
The collective fine amounts to ¬331,273,800. Samsung was fined the most, at ¬145.7 million, followed by Infineon at ¬56.7 million and Hynix Semiconductor at ¬51.5 million.
The cartel operated between July 1, 1998, and June 15, 2002, and "involved a network of contacts and sharing of secret information, mostly on a bilateral basis, through which they coordinated the price levels and quotations for DRAMs," the Commission said in a statement.
NEC said its ¬10.3 million fine would not affect its May 12 financial forecast covering its fiscal 2010 results. Infineon, which must pay ¬56.7 million, said it had no comment. Other companies contacted did not have an immediate comment.
U.S. regulators fined several companies for DRAM price fixing in 2004 and 2005. Samsung Electronics pleaded guilty and was fined $300 million for conspiracy to fix prices in the DRAM market, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Hynix also pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay $185 million in May 2005. Infineon was fined $160 million. Four Infineon executives also pleaded guilty to the price-fixing conspiracy, serving prison terms of between four and six months and paying a $250,000 fine.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
This state transportation department uses computer science students from a local university as programming interns, and everyone is happy with the arrangement -- until one intern learns how to bring down the mainframe.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Infographic: Converged Infrastructure Benefits
- This Infographic quantifies the savings organizations are realizing from increased deployment speed, higher availability, and lower annual costs.
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage
- Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- Going Paperless? Here's What You Need to Think About
- As makers of some of the world's most popular PDF solutions, we often consult with businesses & governmental agencies that have the goal...
- The Big Data Opportunity for HR and Finance
- If CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and CHROs want to drive their businesses forward, they will need to quickly recognize the enormous value of big... All Government IT White Papers
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to...
- Building Tomorrow's Infrastructure Listen to this podcast to discover how Crider Foods worked with PC Connection to update their IT infrastructure, while maintaining compliance and control.
Enhance Your Virtualization Infrastructure With IBM and Vmware
Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Virtualization technology is now expanding beyond the server compute elements to encompass networking and storage...
Transforming Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain Effectiveness with Cross-Functional Analytics
Date: May 6th, 2014
Time: 1 PM EDT
Attend this Webcast to find out how Oracle's packaged analytic applications enable line-of-business managers to examine all...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- All Government IT Webcasts