SAMSUNG, MICRON AND HYNIX are all under fire from a class-action lawsuit which alleges they colluded to ramp up the prices of DRAM.
Filed in a California court, the lawsuit complains that the three companies worked together to artificially limit the supply of DRAM chips uses in PCs and mobile devices in order to hike up memory prices.
“Defendants made a near simultaneous decision in 2016 to restrict growth in the supply of DRAM to stop the downward pressure on prices and, indeed, to cause DRAM prices to skyrocket upward. Beginning no later than early 2016, through statements to investors and the industry, Micron called on Samsung and SK Hynix (the two other DRAM manufacturers) to engage in supply discipline,” the lawsuit alleges.
The three firms are the largest suppliers of memory in the world, so it if there were indeed in cahoots with each other it wouldn’t be too hard for them to fix the DRAM prices.
“What we’ve uncovered in the DRAM market is a classic antitrust, price-fixing scheme in which a small number of kingpin corporations hold the lion’s share of the market,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, the law firm representing the five plaintiffs. “Instead of playing by the rules, Samsung, Micron and Hynix chose to put consumers in a chokehold, wringing the market for more profit.”
“This isn’t the first time we’ve caught the DRAM industry in a scheme to squeeze more money out of consumers,” Berman added. “We achieved a $300m settlement for DRAM purchasers in a similar case, and we intend to prevail for consumers again.”
All this looks like some pretty shady stuff from the big firms, but we contacted all three of them to get their side of the story, yet none have responded.
The lawsuit seeks to represent anyone in the US who purchased a device with DRAM from the companies between 1 July 2015 and 1 February 2018, so if a jury comes out on the side of the plaintiffs, then the three firms could be facing some very hefty charges and payouts in compensation.