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EU commission fines 10 chip producers over price fixing

By R. C. Camphausen     May 19, 2010 in Business
Brussels - The EU Commission fined 10 of the world's largest DRAM chip producers, including the German Infineon, South Korean Samsung and several Japanese companies, a total of 331 million euros (403 million dollars) for operating a cartel.
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said on Wednesday that "the companies concerned have acknowledged that they coordinated prices," which is why most fines have been reduced by 10 percent from the original sums.
The website known as EU Business listed the 10 memory chip producers as South Korea's Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor Inc., Germany's Infineon Technologies and the Japanese firms Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, NEC Electronics, Elpida Memory, and Taiwan's Nanya.
US chip maker Micron Technology escaped being fined by having blown the whistle of the price-fixing deal in the first place.
The companies' cartel action had previously forced computer makers such as Dell and Hewlett Packard to pay inflated prices for the DRAM memory chips, thus pushing up the costs of finished products to consumers.
The Wall Street Journal quotes some of the individual fines, saying that Samsung has to pay 145.7 million Euro and Infineon an amount of 56.7 million euros - with all other companies getting away with lesser amounts.
France 24 reports that this was the first time a settlement had been reached in a cartel case.
More about Chips, Cartel, Crime, Price fixing, Samsung