DRAM antitrust investigators knock on Mitsubishi's door

Mitsubishi Electric has been contacted by U.S. Department of Justice investigators looking into DRAM price fixing, the Japanese company said Monday.

Mitsubishi Electric has been contacted by U.S. Department of Justice investigators looking into price fixing in the computer memory market, the Japanese company said Monday.

The DOJ's antitrust division contacted U.S.-unit Mitsubishi Electric and Electronics USA in search of documents relating to Mitsubishi's DRAM (dynamic RAM) business in the U.S. between 1998 and 2002. No other details of the request were provided by Mitsubishi.

DRAM is used as the main memory in personal computers. The market for DRAM chips is typically volatile and highly competitive but the ongoing DOJ investigation has uncovered evidence of price fixing between major DRAM makers bidding for business with major U.S. computer makers including Dell, Apple Computer, Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM.

In October 2004 Germany's Infineon Technologies pleaded guilty and had a US$160 million criminal fine levied against it. Then in May 2005, Korean manufacturer Hynix Semiconductor Inc. pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a US$185 million criminal fine. In November 2005, Samsung Semiconductor and its Korean parent Samsung Electronics also pleaded guilty and had a US$300 million criminal fine levied against them.

The first Japanese company to become entangled in the probe, Elpida Memory, pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a US$84 million fine, the DOJ said earlier this year.

Most recently three Samsung executives agreed to serve prison time for the part they played in the price fixing. The company's senior manager of DRAM sales agreed to serve eight months in U.S. prison and two other managers agreed to serve seven months. The three also agreed to pay US$250,000 each and cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

Mitsubishi said it is "unable to predict the impact of the DOJ request or civil lawsuits, including but not limited to a possible adverse affect, on our business performance in the future" but stopped short of revising its financial forecast.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?