Antitrust investigators with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) have issued a subpoena to Samsung Semiconductor, just hours after asking competitors Mitsubishi Electric and Cypress Semiconductor for information about their sales practices in the static RAM (SRAM) chip market.
Toshiba, another major SRAM chip producer, declined to comment on whether it had also been subpoenaed. A spokeswoman referred questions to the company’s Tokyo headquarters.
Samsung plans to comply with the request for information about sales and marketing practices throughout the industry, spokeswoman Chris Goodhart said in a statement.
“Samsung will cooperate fully with the Department of Justice on this matter,” she said. “Samsung is committed to fair competition and ethical practices and forbids anticompetitive behavior.”
Samsung has already been charged with antitrust violations in a DoJ investigation of the dynamic RAM (DRAM) market. Justice Department lawyers found evidence that several DRAM chip makers manipulated prices while bidding for business with U.S. computer makers Dell, Apple Computer, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. Several DRAM makers have been ordered to pay fines as high as US$300 million, and three Samsung executives were sentenced to time in prison.
SRAM chips can retain data as long as they have power, and are typically used as a memory buffer in devices such as computers and hard-disk drives, or to handle data in low-power devices like mobile phones.
-Ben Ames, IDG News Service (Boston Bureau)
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