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Rambus claims Hynix and Micron conspired to keep SDRAM prices low

Stopped RDRAM from becoming cheap as chips
Tue Sep 20 2011, 13:32

SERIAL LITIGATOR Rambus has accused memory makers Hynix and Micron of conspiring to keep Rambus' RDRAM technology down.

Rambus' claim for $3.85bn in lost revenue due to its RDRAM memory standard tanking hinges on a claim it made that other memory makers, namely Hynix and Micron, worked in tandem to push rival SDRAM technology. Rambus' lawyer Sean Eskovitz told Reuters, "RDRAM should have won this race, but the defendants cheated", adding that Hynix and Micron conspired to keep SDRAM prices low.

Rambus claims that aside from keeping prices low, the two firms boycotted its RDRAM technology, and it even named Samsung in an alleged three-way pact between memory makers to help raise the price of RDRAM chips. Last year Samsung settled with Rambus in a $900m deal.

When Intel's Pentium 4 first tipped up not only was it disappointingly slow but it required RDRAM, which at the time was far more expensive than its contemporaries. Eventually Intel ditched RDRAM and went with SDRAM for its Pentium 4 chips, a move that was seen as the kiss of death for Rambus' technology.

Although Rambus had been in the patents business before Intel decided to drop RDRAM, the last decade or so has seen the firm aggressively sue other companies, claiming that they infringed its patents. More often than not, it has come out on top.

Hynix and Micron deny any anti-competitive behaviour and claim Rambus's RDRAM growth was stunted by technical and design issues. Hynix goes even further, saying that Intel had already made the switch to SDRAM before Rambus claims collusion took place. µ


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