Samsung, Micron and SK Hynix face yet another class action lawsuit for allegedly fixing the prices of memory used in iPhones, Macs and nearly every other computing device, with memory producers accused of colluding to raise prices on the DRAM market.
Filed on May 3, the lawsuit alleges that Samsung, Hynix and Micron are working together to artificially inflate the cost of memory. By having near total dominance of memory production as a group, the three would have the ability to control memory pricing with relative ease.
The trio would have controlled this pricing by artificially limiting the supply of memory on the market. By supposedly creating a shortage of DRAM chips, the high demand for the components therefore drove up prices.
Representing 14 individual parties, the class action claims that the plaintiffs were victims of antitrust practices due to an alleged cutback in supplies. The class action lawsuit itself claims to represent Americans who bought mobile phones and computers between 2016 and 2017, a period in which the lawsuit claims DRAM chip prices have increased by more than 130%.
The lawsuit filed by law firm Hagens Berman is a new attempt to one it started in 2018, making identical claims, but that lawsuit was dismissed in December 2020. It’s unclear exactly what’s different about it. the last pursuit attempt.
A 2006 lawsuit against Hagens Berman was successful, resulting in a settlement worth $ 345 million.
It remains to be seen whether the latest attempt will meet the same fate as the 2018 trial, as it may not be possible to prove appropriate levels of collusion in court. Industry representatives speaking to Korea Times observed that DRAM pricing is synchronized with demand and supply movements.
“It seems to be going too far to say that all three chipmakers have artificially inflated the price of DRAM chips,” one official said. “DRAM prices have shown a downward trend over the past two years.”
The timing of the final trial attempt is appropriate, as it takes place during a global semiconductor shortage. The global chip shortage, which is expected to last until 2022, has impacted consumer electronics production worldwide and affects everything from processors and memory chips to DRAM.