The three biggest players in DRAM - Micron, SK Hynix and Samsung - are facing claims that they colluded to restrict supply causing a ramp-up in memory prices.
The claims have been made in a lawsuit filed in the Northern District Court in California that alleges that the three companies "made a near simultaneous decision in 2016 to restrict growth in the supply of DRAM to stop the downward pressure on prices and, indeed, to cause DRAM prices to skyrocket upward".
DRAM prices rose throughout 2017, peaking in December 2017 through to around February 2018, before recently moderating.
"Beginning no later than early 2016, through statements to investors and the industry, Micron called on Samsung and SK Hynix (the two other DRAM manufacturers) to engage in supply discipline," the lawsuit continues.
"What we've uncovered in the DRAM market is a classic antitrust, price-fixing scheme in which a small number of kingpin corporations hold the lion's share of the market," said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, the law firm representing the five plaintiffs.
"Instead of playing by the rules, Samsung, Micron and Hynix chose to put consumers in a chokehold, wringing the market for more profit."
"This isn't the first time we've caught the DRAM industry in a scheme to squeeze more money out of consumers," Berman added. "We achieved a $300m settlement for DRAM purchasers in a similar case, and we intend to prevail for consumers again."
All this looks like some pretty shady stuff from the big firms. V3 has contacted all three for comment, but none have responded yet.
The lawsuit seeks to represent anyone in the US who purchased a device with DRAM from the companies between 1 July 2015 and 1 February 2018, so if a jury comes out on the side of the plaintiffs, the three companies could be facing some very hefty charges and payouts in compensation.
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