Rambus loses 'RDRAM' case, stock drops

Micron wins an important case against Rambus, which had alleged that companies conspired to lock it out of the memory chip market.

Micron Technology has prevailed in an important multi-billion dollar lawsuit brought against it and others by Rambus, a company not shy about suing memory chipmakers. Rambus saw its stock price nosedive as a result.

Boise, Idaho-based Micron, one of the world's largest memory chipmakers, said today that a jury in the California state court antitrust trial of Rambus v. Micron Technology reached a verdict in its favor, clearing it of all liability.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Rambus, a chip design house, alleged that Micron, Hynix Semiconductor and others conspired to keep Rambus-designed DRAM (RDRAM) chips out of the memory market. And it claimed the deal cost it up to $4.4 billion in lost profits.

Not so, said 12 jurors after deliberating for more than eight weeks. "At trial, Micron presented evidence demonstrating that it was design flaws, higher manufacturing costs, and other drawbacks associated with RDRAM along with Rambus' business practices that prevented RDRAM from gaining wide acceptance in the market," Micron said in a statement.

A jury at the California Superior Court in San Francisco found in favor of Micron on all counts.

"The jury's verdict validates our assertion that Micron acted in accordance with the law and consistent with its values of innovation and fair competition in the marketplace," said Micron CEO Steve Appleton, in a statement.

The market was quick to react, with Rambus stock tanking 60 percent--to $7.16, the lowest level for the stock in the last three years.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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