The tenth member of the illegal operation, Micron, escaped without penalty because it was the company that originally blew the whistle in 2002. The nefarious activities lasted from 1998-2002, and involved price-fixing of DRAM to maximize profits. Of the nine companies who had to pay up, Samsung led the way with over $185 million USD. The other companies involved included Hynix, Infineon, NEC, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Elpida, and Nanya.
The close of this investigation reportedly came as a result of a willingness by the parties involved to reach a settlement. According to CBC.ca, the European Union emphatically denies that this, and future settlements, mean it is softening on the issue of price-fixing. States Joaquin Almunia, Competition Commissioner of the EU, “We are not compromising on cartels. We will continue to be clearly against cartels.”
Even still, all fines were reduced by 10% from their original amounts due to full co-operation by the members of the cartel; co-operation that didn’t come until 7 years after the fact.
The EU has been known to hand out very large fines; in 2009 Intel was slapped with a $1.45 Billion USD judgement for anti-trust violations. What are your thoughts on $400 million settlement split amongst the 9 parties?