, the United States Department of Justice
, under the Sherman Antitrust Act
, began a probe into the activities of dynamic random access memory
(DRAM) manufacturers. US computer makers, including Dell
, claimed that inflated DRAM pricing
was causing lost profits and hindering their effectiveness in the marketplace.
To date, five manufacturers have pleaded guilty to their involvement in an international price-fixing conspiracy including Hynix
, Micron Technology
, and Elpida
"In December 2003, the Department charged Alfred P. Censullo
, a Regional Sales Manager for Micron Technology
Inc., with obstruction of justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1503. Censullo pleaded guilty to the charge and admitted to having withheld and altered documents responsive to a grand jury subpoena served on Micron in June 2002."
On October 20, 2004, Infineon also pled guilty. The company was fined $160M for its involvement, then the third largest antitrust
fine in US history. Hynix Semiconductor
soon took the third position in April 2005 with a $185M criminal penalty after they also admitted guilt. In October 2005, Samsung
entered their guilty plea in connection with the cartel.