Negotiations between Apple ( AAPL) and Samsung over a $3.8 billion joint venture to produce a type of flash memory used in Apple's iPod nano music player have reportedly broken down.

Press reports in Asia quote a Samsung spokeswoman saying the talks over a NAND memory venture never got out of the preliminary stage.

No official reason was given. Various reports said Apple backed out of the talks over concerns about heightening regulatory interest in Samsung's pricing practices.

Last week, the South Korean chip and electronics maker agreed to plead guilty to allegations of price-fixing and pay a fine of $300 million following a U.S. government probe of makers of dynamic random access memory. Samsung, Hynix and Germany's Infineon ( IFX) were found to have conspired over three years through June 2002 to fix the prices of such chips.

According to the Associated Press, the head of South Korea's Fair Trade Commission was quoted locally this month saying his group might look into the price at which Samsung supplies NAND chips to Apple.

Analysts believe Apple has spoken for up to 40% of Samsung's NAND output in the second half of 2005 for products including the nano, which was released last month, Reuters said.