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Iowa Attorney General
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June 24, 2010

Computer Chip Makers to Pay $173 Million to Resolve Antitrust Allegations by 33 States

Des Moines, Iowa. Iowa is one of 33 states reaching a $173 million antitrust settlement with six worldwide makers of “DRAM” computer chips.

“We alleged they illegally conspired to fix prices,” said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.

Dynamic Random Access Memory chips, or DRAM (pronounced “D-ram”), are a common form of memory chips found in desktop computers, lap-tops, printers, servers, and networking equipment.

“We alleged the companies colluded to inflate prices,” Miller said. “Investigation indicated they held frequent meetings, made telephone calls, exchanged confidential information, and agreed to charge inflated prices for DRAM chips.” Billions of dollars of DRAM chips are sold each year.

The companies agreed to pay $173 million, are prohibited from illegal price-fixing in the future, and must provide compliance training for employees. The Federal District Court for Northern California will determine how the money will be allocated among the states and other public agencies, private consumers and businesses.

Companies named in the states’ lawsuit filed earlier are the American companies Micron Technology, Inc., and NEC Electronics America, Inc.; and the foreign companies Infineon Technologies A.G. in Germany; Hynix Semiconductor Inc. in South Korea; Elpida Memory Inc. in Japan; Mosel-Vitelic Corp. in Taiwan; and their U.S. subsidiaries.

States participating in the settlement are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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