It's a DRAM shame: Oracle sues Micron, alleges chip price fixing

In other legal action, Acer withdraws lawsuit against IBM

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Picking up where Sun Microsystems left off, Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL) filed a lawsuit last Friday against Micron Technology (NASDAQ: MU), alleging that the chip maker conspired with other computer chip manufacturers to jack up the price of dynamic random access memory, or DRAM.

Oracle inherited the lawsuit after purchasing Sun last January. The actions alleged in the case go way back to the period between 1998 and 2002, when Sun (now known as Oracle America) purchased in excess of $2 billion worth of DRAM, according to Reuters.

This isn't Micron's first brush with price-fixing litigation, nor the chip industry's. Reuters reports that in 1997, the Idaho-based company reached a $80 million settlement in a private antitrust suit. And between 2004 and 2006, Micron was one of five chip makers to plead guilty to price-fixing charges stemming from a Department of Justice investigation that began in 2002. Because Micron cooperated with the DoJ, it was the only one of five companies charged that dodged fines. The other defendants paid fines ranging between $160 million and $300 million.

In other technology litigation news, the Wall Street Journal reports that Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer Acer Inc. has agreed to withdraw a lawsuit filed Monday in New York against IBM in which it alleged Big Blue owed it money to cover tax refunds Acer had to pay the Taiwanese government. Acer deducted the amount it owed in taxes from its royalty payment to IBM in August, an action that IBM alleged violated their licensing agreement. Now the companies have decided to work out the dispute outside of court.

Good thing. It sounds really confusing.

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