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News hardware & software 10 May 2021, 17:40

author: Przemyslaw Dygas

RAM and VRAM Hikes Due to Price Collusion? There's a Lawsuit

Another increase in DRAM prices may be the result of price collusion by the largest manufacturers. Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron have once again been charged by law firm Hagens Berman.

IN A NUTSHELL:
  • Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron have been accused of colluding on DRAM pricing;
  • A lawsuit was filed by Hagens Berman;
  • The lawyers are seeking compensation for those affected by the practices of the three manufacturers.

For a long time, the prices of DRAM modules used in GPUs and RAM have been rising. It turns out that this phenomenon may not be a natural market phenomenon, but a result of a price collusion of major manufacturers. As reported by BusinessKorea, law firm Hagens Berman has filed a class action lawsuit against Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron, accusing them of unfair practices.

A similar lawsuit was filed by the company in 2018. It argued that "the investigation showed that a group of major electronics manufacturers that produce dynamic memory (DRAM) may have agreed to collectively raise the price of memory used in phones and computers from 2016 to 2017, illegally inflating the price paid by consumers." On this basis, the company sought compensation for people who were affected by the actions of the three manufacturers when they made purchases.

Two years after the lawsuit was filed, it was dismissed by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. On May 3 of this year, Hagens Berman sued the three manufacturers again in the same court that had previously dismissed the allegations. Most likely, the company intends to present new evidence to convince the judges that the lawyers are right. However, it is not known what changes have been made to the lawsuit that was first filed three years ago.

However, the outline of the suit is probably still the same. Hagens Berman pointed to the specific reluctance of the three companies to increase their production in the face of growing demand for DRAM modules. The timing of the price increases is also suspicious. In fact, the process began shortly after the conferences and meetings between the most important representatives of the industry. In addition, Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron together control as much as 96% of global DRAM production (in the fourth quarter of 2020 according to TrendForce).

It is worth mentioning that Hagens Berman accused electronics manufacturers of price collusion in the past as well. In 2002, the company sued Samsung and SK Hynix. 4 years later, both corporations were forced to pay $345 million in damages for preventing normal market competition.

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