DOJ Probes SRAM Market

Cypress Semiconductor says it is cooperating with the inquiry.
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Cypress Semiconductor

(CY) - Get Report

said it is cooperating with the Justice Department in an investigation into the SRAM memory-chip market.

In a short statement released Thursday, Cypress said the DOJ's antitrust division had notified the company that there will be an investigation into the SRAM market. Cypress said it will make available its employees, documents and all other relevant information to the government to fully support the investigation.

Shares of San Jose, Calif.-based Cypress were down 3.5%, or 70 cents, at $19.42 in midday trading.

News of the investigation marks a new phase in the government's probe of computer-memory makers. For several years, the Justice Department has been investigating price fixing in the market for DRAM, the standard type of memory chips used in personal computers. SRAM memory, which is faster and more expensive than DRAM, is used for specialty purposes like a microprocessor's cache.

The DRAM probe has so far resulted in jail sentences for executives at

Samsung

,

Hynix Semiconductor

and

Infineon Technologies

(IFX)

, as well as more than $700 million in fines.

That investigation centers on collusion between executives at various chipmakers to set the price of DRAM chips between 1999 and 2002.

Cypress didn't disclose whether the new SRAM probe was focused on price-fixing or on different issues. A representative of the Justice Department's antitrust division was not immediately available for comment.