Oracle, which now owns the Sun server, storage and workstation franchises, filed a new legal action against Micron, charging the company with price fixing over a span of about five years.
Data center software and systems maker Oracle, which has seen its
own share of litigation over the past several years--especially
involving the acquisition of Sun Microsystems--is seeking legal
restitution against solid-state memory maker Micron for alleged
Oracle, which now owns the Sun server, storage and workstation
franchises, filed legal action Sept. 24 in U.S. District Court in San
Jose, Calif., against Boise, Idaho-based Micron, charging the company
with price fixing over a span of about five years.
Between 1998 and 2002, Sun Microsystems purchased in excess of $2
billion in DRAM (dynamic random access memory) from Micron and other
suppliers, in addition to millions of dollars' worth of DRAM that came
installed in already-finished products.
Oracle claimed in the lawsuit that Micron conspired with several other
companies, including Samsung, Hynix and Infineon, to control the price
of DRAM in its sales to systems makers that included Sun.
Oracle is seeking unspecified damages, as well as restitution for
"disgorgement" of revenue and earnings, court costs and interest,
according to court documents.
In June, six memory-chip companies--including Micron--agreed
to pay $173 million plus interest to 33 states and private class-action
plaintiffs to settle similar litigation.
In May, the European Commission got involved, fining these
memory companies a total of 331 million Euros. Samsung paid the highest
amount, 145.7 million Euros. At the time, a whistle-blower at Micron
revealed to regulators the scheme; thus Micron was not fined by
But the Oracle litigation reinstitutes action against Micron and is a
separate spin-off of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation. In
2005, Samsung pled guilty in the United States to price fixing and paid a $300 million fine
in a settlement with the DOJ.
DRAM, commonly used in servers of all types for boot-up and other
purposes, stores each bit of data in a separate capacitor within an
integrated circuit. Since real capacitors leak charge, the information
eventually fades unless the capacitor charge is refreshed periodically.
Because of this refresh requirement, it is considered a dynamic memory
as opposed to SRAM (static random access memory).