Micron settles memory price-fixing lawsuit from Oracle

The lawsuit dates to September, 2010 after Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems

Micron Technology has reached an agreement to settle a lawsuit filed by Oracle over an alleged conspiracy to increase DRAM prices, it said on Thursday.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleged a conspiracy to increase DRAM prices and other violations of federal and state antitrust and unfair competition laws based on purported conduct for the period from Aug. 1, 1998 through at least June 15, 2002, Micron said.

Oracle filed the lawsuit against Micron and subsidiary Micron Semiconductor Products in September, 2010 to recover damages caused by what it described as a long-standing conspiracy by DRAM makers to allegedly control production capacity, raise prices or slow their decline, allocate customers, and otherwise unlawfully overcharge their DRAM customers.

During the period of the conspiracy, Sun Microsystems, a company Oracle acquired in January, 2010, purchased billions of dollars of DRAMs from the alleged conspirators including Micron, besides spending millions of dollars in DRAMs used in servers and workstations and other products made by external manufacturers.

As a result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice initiated in 2002, five top DRAM makers including Micron admitted their involvement in the conspiracy, but Micron obtained amnesty from criminal prosecution by being the first to admit its participation in the illegal cartel, Oracle said in its complaint.

Pursuant to the agreement, the parties agreed to a settlement and release of all claims and a dismissal with prejudice of the litigation, Micron said.

Oracle was not immediately available for comment. The copy of the settlement agreement was not available on the court website.

Micron said the effect of the settlement on its results of operations for the second fiscal quarter of 2012 is a reduction in revenue and an increase in the net loss attributable to Micron shareholders of US$58 million. The company had reported last week net sales of $2.1 billion and net loss of $224 million for the quarter which ended March 1.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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