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Businesses The Courts Hardware

Nine Chip Makers Fined $400M In EU For Price Fixing 215

eldavojohn writes "In a disturbing case for average consumers, nine DRAM chip manufacturers have been fined more than $400 million for price fixing. The named companies are Samsung, Hynix, Infineon, NEC, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Elpida, and Nanya. A tenth company, Micron, avoided fines by reporting the other nine to the authorities. Since all companies cooperated with the probe, they received a 10% reduction in fines, so it could have been worse. The US DoJ has had its own history with chip makers and LCD makers in price fixing scandals."
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Nine Chip Makers Fined $400M In EU For Price Fixing

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  • Re:Disturbing? (Score:3, Informative)

    by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Thursday May 20, 2010 @02:32AM (#32275574)

    The thing that was disturbing to me is that the consumer lost out here and the government is pulling in $400 million. When will the actual victim (people who made DRAM purchases) receive restitution? Never.

    Perhaps because you are looking at it the wrong way. The government isn't fishing for money, the EU is punishing a company for anti-competitive actions. The EU has two acceptable choices to punish a company, 1. put some directors in jail, this is a long drawn out process that will take time whilst the rich fly off to exotic locales with no extradition treaties whilst setting up scapegoats from lower down the corporate food chain to do their time for them 2. Impose a fine, making the company pay the justice department which the company cant weasel out of. If they did it on a case by case basis they wouldnt even give $2 million away as half the people wouldn't claim and half of those who did wouldn't have receipts and they'd only have to pay out to the people in the EU jurisdiction.

    In other words, giving the money back to individual "victims" would result in no punishment at all as most "victims" will never be reached. Without punishment what disincentive is there for a company not to be anti-competitive?

    Further more, this makes it back to the EU citizens in a surplus (or less deficit) which reduces the amount the EU citizens need to pay the EU to keep running. If you ask me, the companies got off light. The fine should have been at least US$800 Million, heck 1.2 billion would even have been appropriate for this level of collusion.

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