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Government Brings Antitrust Actions Against Rambus, Micron

chrisd posted more than 12 years ago | from the kursk-meets-rambus dept.

The Almighty Buck 257

A Happy Plague writes "I work at a hedge fund and one of the nice ammenities are real time news tickers. At 11:34 EDT, a nice red line scrolled on my screen.."FTC Alleges Rambus Violates Antitrust Laws". The headlines followed..."...Anticompetitive Acts... Deceived standard setting organization...never acknowledged patents... deceptive conduct..." Too bad it takes a long time fo bureacracies to work, but they usually come around. Yahoo News has the story." Of course all rambus has to do now is buy a president to get out from under this. In related news, Tricot writes "Over at Salon, there is a newswire article claiming that the justice department is investigating memory chip maker Micron for anti-competitive practices. Wow, if it's a monopoly, then it certainly hasn't hurt prices."

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There once was a Ghostse... (-1)

GhostseTroll (582659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731935)

who got first post.

Re:There once was a Ghostse... (-1)

Mr F J Musical-Troll (582606) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731974)

Congratulations on a very fast first post, good sir. I feel that the occasion would be most adquately marked with this fine tune [goatse.cx] .

Re:There once was a Ghostse... (-1)

GhostseTroll (582659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732067)

That is hylarious, dude... at least I think it is since I haven't listened to it. I'll do so as soon as I get home to make sure you don't somehow trick me into viewing the photo by the same name as the tune when I follow the link.

I'll now leave you with these wonderful tunes [zdnet.co.uk]

♪ First musical post! ♫ (-1)

Mr F J Musical-Troll (582606) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731936)

This first post is dedicated to all whose sound card is broken or missing, so no music this time!

Please feel free to add your own though, and have a nice evening.

Re:♪ First musical post! ♫ (-1)

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM (537317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731953)

I have no ears. What should I do?

Re:♪ First musical post! ♫ (-1)

GhostseTroll (582659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731968)

You should buy a bumper dumper [bumperdumper.com]

DoubleWide? (-1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732203)

Do they sell a double wide for fatties?

♭ First musical post! ♮ (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731971)

Almost, clitmeister.

My Experience With Linux!! (-1, Offtopic)

Cheshire Cat (105171) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731937)

I work as a consultant for several fortune 500 companies, and I think I can shed a little light on the climate of the open source community at the moment. I believe that part of the reason that open source based startups are failing left and right is not an issue of marketing as it's commonly believed but more of an issue of the underlying technology.

I know that that's a strong statement to make, but I have evidence to back it up! At one of the major corps(5000+ employees) that I consult for, we wanted to integrate Linux into our server pool. The allure of not having to pay any restrictive licensing fees was too great to ignore. I reccomended the installation of several boxes running the new 2.4.9 kernel, and my hopes were high that it would perform up to snuff with the Windows 2k boxes which were(and still are!) doing an AMAZING job at their respective tasks of serving HTTP requests, DNS, and fileserving.

I consider myself to be very technically inclined having programmed in VB for the last 8 years doing kernel level programming. I don't believe in C programming because contrary to popular belief, VB can go just as low level as C and the newest VB compiler generates code that's every bit as fast. I took it upon myself to configure the system from scratch and even used an optimised version of gcc 3.1 to increase the execution speed of the binaries. I integrated the 3 machines I had configured into the server pool, and I'd have to say the results were less than impressive... We all know that linux isn't even close to being ready for the desktop, but I had heard that it was supposed to perform decently as a "server" based operating system. The 3 machines all went into swap immediately, and it was obvious that they weren't going to be able to handle the load in this "enterprise" environment. After running for less than 24 hours, 2 of them had experienced kernel panics caused by Bind and Apache crashing! Granted, Apache is a volunteer based project written by weekend hackers in their spare time while Microsft's IIS has an actual professional full fledged development team devoted to it. Not to mention the fact that the Linux kernel itself lacks any support for any type of journaled filesystem, memory protection, SMP support, etc, but I thought that since Linux is based on such "old" technology that it would run with some level of stability. After several days of this type of behaviour, we decided to reinstall windows 2k on the boxes to make sure it wasn't a hardware problem that was causing things to go wrong. The machines instantly shaped up and were seamlessly reintegrated into the server pool with just one Win2K machine doing more work than all 3 of the Linux boxes.

Needless to say, I won't be reccomending Linux/FSF to anymore of my clients. I'm dissappointed that they won't be able to leverege the free cost of Linux to their advantage, but in this case I suppose the old adage stands true that, "you get what you pay for." I would have also liked to have access to the source code of the applications that we're running on our mission critical systems; however, from the looks of it, the Microsoft "shared source" program seems to offer all of the same freedoms as the GPL.

As things stand now, I can understand using Linux in academia to compile simple "Hello World" style programs and learn C programming, but I'm afraid that for anything more than a hobby OS, Windows 98/NT/2K are your only choices.

thank you.

+1, Funny (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3731962)

Okay, this is too funny to be a troll. Hopefully some mod will see that and raise it up. Slashdot has gotten so serious lately....

Re:My Experience With Linux!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3731994)

"Apache is a volunteer based project written by weekend hackers in their spare time while Microsft's IIS has an actual professional full fledged development team devoted to it."

Excellent point.

In fact, the only reason people run Apache it is its free to download and has less options and features than IIS so its easier for them to use and understand.

Re:My Experience With Linux!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732174)

Kernel level VB my a$$.

Jive translation of blatant troll... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732239)

I work as some consultant fo' several fortune 500 companies, and Ah dink Ah kin shed some little light on de climate o' de jimmy source community at de damn moment. Ah reckon dat part o' de reason dat jimmy source based startups be failin' left and right be not an issue o' marketin' as it's commonly believed but more o' an issue o' de underlyin' technology. Ya' know?

Ah know dat dat's some strong statement t' make, but Ah gots evidence t' back it up. Right On! At one o' de majo' corps(5000+ employees) dat Ah consult fo', we wanted t' integrate Linux into our serva' pool. What it is, Mama! De allure o' not havin' t' pay any restrictive licensin' fees wuz too great t' ignore. Sheeeiit. Ah reccomended de damn installashun o' several boxes runnin' de new 2.4.9 kernel, and mah hopes wuz high dat it would perform up t' snuff wid de Windows 2k boxes which wuz(and still be!) doin' an AMAZING job at deir respective tasks o' servin' HTTP requests, DNS, and fileservin'.

Ah consida' myself t' be real technically inclined havin' programmed in VB fo' de last 8 years doin' kernel level programmin'. Ah duzn't reckon in C programmin' a'cuz contrary t' popular belief, VB kin go plum as low level as C and de damn newest VB compila' generates code dat's every bit as fast. Ah took it upon myself t' configure de damn system fum scratch and even used an optimised version o' gcc 3.1 t' increase de damn 'secushun speed o' de binaries. Ah integrated de damn 3 machines Ah had configured into de serva' pool, and I'd gots t' say de results wuz less dan impressive. Sheeeiit... We all know dat linux isn't even close t' bein' ready fo' de desktop, but Ah had heard dat it wuz supposed t' perform decently as some "server" based operatin' system. What it is, Mama! De 3 machines all went into swap immediately, and it wuz obvious dat dey weren't goin' t' be able t' handle de damn load in dis "enterprise" environment. Afta' runnin' fo' less dan 24 hours, 2 o' dem had 'sperienced kernel panics caused by Bind and Apache crashin'! Granted, Apache be some voluntea' based project written by weekend hackers in deir spare time while Microsft's IIS gots'ta an actual professional full fledged development team devoted t' it. Not t' menshun de fact dat de damn Linux kernel itself lacks any support fo' any type o' journaled filesystem, memory protecshun, SMP support, etc, but Ah dought dat since Linux be based on such "old" technology dat it would run wid some level o' stability. Ya' know? Afta' several days o' dis type o' behaviour, we decided t' reinstall windows 2k on de boxes t' make sho' it wasn't some hardware problem dat wuz causin' dings t' go wrong. What it is, Mama! De machines instantly shaped up and wuz seamlessly reintegrated into de serva' pool wid plum one Win2K machine doin' more work dan all 3 o' de Linux boxes.

Needless t' say, Ah won't be reccomendin' Linux/FSF t' anymore o' mah clients. I'm dissappointed dat dey won't be able t' leverege de damn free cost o' Linux t' deir advantage, but in dis case Ah suppose de damn old adage stands true dat, "you git whut ya' pay fo'." Ah would gots also liked t' gots access t' de source code o' de applications dat we're runnin' on our mission critical systems; howeva', fum de looks o' it, de Microsoft "shared source" honky code seems t' offa' all o' de same freedoms as de GPL.

As dings stand now, Ah kin dig usin' Linux in academia t' compile simple "Hello World" style programs and learn C programmin', but I'm afraid dat fo' anythin' more dan some hobby OS, Windows 98/NT/2K be yo' only choices.

dank ya'.

FIST post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3731941)

right up the man CLIT [goatse.cx]

Alan Thicke DEAD. (-1)

Alan_Thicke (553655) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731942)

I just heard the sad news on CBC radio. Comedy actor/writer Alan Thicke was found dead in his home this morning. Even if you never liked his work, you can appreciate what he did for 80's television. Truly a Canadian icon. [slashdot.org]
He will be missed :(



Show me That Smile (The Growing Pains Theme Song):

Show me that smile again.
Ooh show me that smile.
Don't waste another minute on your crying.
We're nowhere near the end.
We're nowhere near.
The best is ready to begin.

As long as we got each other
We got the world
Sitting right in our hands.
Baby rain or shine;
All the time.
We got each other
Sharing the laughter and love.

and the masturbating bear says (-1, Offtopic)

Triumph The Insult C (586706) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731956)

#include int main(){ printf("FP for the CLIT\n"); return 0; }

check out this hot little tamale! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3731960)

check out this hot little blonde vixen! [qwest.net]
she's totally babelicious!

Re:check out this hot hunk of meat (-1)

GhostseTroll (582659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732048)

right here [bumperdumper.com]

Alan Thicke DEAD. (-1)

Alan_Thicke (553655) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731961)

I just heard the sad news on CBC radio. Comedy actor/writer Alan Thicke was found dead in his home this morning. Even if you never liked his work, you can appreciate what he did for 80's television. Truly a Canadian icon. [slashdot.org]
He will be missed :(



Show me That Smile (The Growing Pains Theme Song):

Show me that smile again.
Ooh show me that smile.
Don't waste another minute on your crying.
We're nowhere near the end.
We're nowhere near.
The best is ready to begin.

As long as we got each other
We got the world
Sitting right in our hands.
Baby rain or shine;
All the time.
We got each other
Sharing the laughter and love.

How do you know? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3731969)

Wow, if it's a monopoly, then it certainly hasn't hurt prices.

How do you know this? You have no way of knowing what prices might be were this not a monopoly (if it is ruled a monoopoly). You might consider the prices "fair" now, but who's to say they couldn't be better with competition?

Re:How do you know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732226)

I work at a hedge fund and one of the nice ammenities are real time news tickers.

Too bad they don't have real-time spell checkers for you!

Dusseldorf proxy in action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3731972)

I think I speak for everyone when I say "fuck yeah!"

Bye bye Rambus (-1, Flamebait)

cmkrnl (2738) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731973)

Its about time....

Surprising to see all the H/W geeks praising RMBS. Rather Sad.

Curmudgeon

Starts now, technology is well established (4, Informative)

Marx_Mrvelous (532372) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731982)

So, I rememebr hearing about all this what, two years ago? When Rambus was going to the "the" definitive memory solutions. While DDR is certainly very successful, Rambus is still the premier memory technology. Now, it's always been clear to me that they've done this illegally.

I wonder, if they persued this earlier if we wouldn't see Rambus out right now. DDR, IMHO, is the better, cheaper solution. A small push against Rambus two years ago might have been enough to force them from the market.

Re:Starts now, technology is well established (1)

MisterBlister (539957) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732051)

DDR is cheaper, but its not better. Don't believe the latency myth. RDRAM is better in virtually every real-world situation. SDRAM-DDR only ever comes out on top in pathological unrealistic kludgemark tests.

Re:Starts now, technology is well established (1)

Fig, formerly A.C. (543042) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732197)

Your post was great, until you got to the last 4 words. Care to back that assertion up with some facts?

Re:Starts now, technology is well established (1)

plugger (450839) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732105)

I wonder, if they persued this earlier if we wouldn't see Rambus out right now.

I'm kinda glad they didn't though. Last month I picked up 256MB RDRAM for my system at only twice the price of DDR, but at least it is available. About 18 months ago, I was worried that my system was an expensive dead end, like the MCA PS2 machines.

Bush Soccer Statement Again In Error @ +1 ; Good @ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732126)

Courtesy of the The Guardian [guardian.co.uk]

George Bush has phoned to congratulate the US
team after its unlikely 2-0 victory over Mexico, the Washington Post reports - on its front page, at that. His heart-stirring message: 'A lot of people who didn't even know anything about soccer, like me, are all excited and pulling for you.' According to the report, he also phoned the Mexican president from his ranch in Texas - the state which the US annexed from Mexico in 1845.

W should have said "A lot of people who didn't even know anything about soccer, like I,"

Thanks in advance,
Woot

Re:Starts now, technology is well established (1)

clutch110 (528473) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732146)

Actually, a small push would make Rambus all that much richer. Rambus is trying to collect royalties on patents that it may have created through stealing information at the JEDEC against DDR Ram. So no, DDR may be more expensive today if Rambus was never challenged.

Re:Starts now, technology is well established (5, Informative)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732154)

No, no, no... the anti-trust investigation has nothing to do with RDRAM.

It has everything to do with SDRAM and DDR.

Rambus was part of the JEDEC back when SDRAM standards were being developed. They withdrew shortly after the standards were being seriously discussed, but (allegedly) not before suggesting certain methods of doing things... which as it turns out they have patents on.

Part of being involved in JEDEC, as with most standards bodies, is playing fair. You don't recommend that a standard adopt a method that you own the patent on unless you have fully disclosed that patent and have agreed to reasonable licensing terms. Rambus didn't do this. That's the crux of the lawsuit. And they're pretty well screwed here - Dell tried this many years ago and got toasted - their patents were ruled invalid because of exactly the same thing.

RDRAM doesn't come into play. DDR does because DDR uses a lot of the same technologies that SDRAM does, which is where Rambus has its patent claims. Rambus allowed the standard(s) to be set, manufacturing to occur for a few years, and then served papers to every memory maker out there - telling them to either pay a royalty on these undisclosed patents or go to court for infringement. What amazes me is how many of the memory makers rolled over and played dead - only Micron, Infineon, and Hynix refused and counter-sued Rambus.

Rambus probably would still exist even without these patents, simply because of the inane deal that Intel upper management signed a few years ago. They're finally working their way out of that boondoggle... of course, in the meantime AMD has gained market presence largely due to that mistake.

eat it janitors and AC's (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731986)

we 0wn this shiznet today.

Go Government! (1)

sheepab (461960) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731991)

Well hot damn they're just on an anti-trust streak arent they.

Re:Go Government! (1)

Fig, formerly A.C. (543042) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732081)

Which is ironic because (in a sense) the government is the biggest monopoly I am aware of...

Re:Go Government! (1)

sheepab (461960) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732104)

Nah, it has to compete with other governments...like China, and cuba, and...oh shit!

RAMBUS getting what they deserve... (5, Funny)

Vuarnet (207505) | more than 12 years ago | (#3731997)

Anyone who hides patents and patent applications in order to deceive their fellow members, "working" with them to create a new memory standard, just to throw their weight several years down the line claiming everybody is infringing on those patents, deserves such a huge fine that the only memory they will be able to afford will be Post-it notes stuck to their PCs.

Re:RAMBUS getting what they deserve... (2)

RealisticWeb.com (557454) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732140)

Yes, I agree, but did you read the article? The council for Rambus explained thier side of the story and it sounds to me like they have a strong case. Thats not to say that I beleive them, I just don't know how many fines they will ever see. As long as the government doesn't get out of hand with antitrust lawsuits, I think it is a good thing. It seems like they are paying way more attention to technology, and hopefully we will never have to see a rise of another Microsoft.

Re:RAMBUS getting what they deserve... (2)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732184)

Rambus's council simply says they complied with the JEDEC rules and regulations -- which from everything I've read they did not.

What do you expect them to say? "Yes, our client ignored those very rules that you are now prosecuting us for anti-trust violations."

Note the reference to the Dell case. It's very much the same situation.

WORST POST! I GOT THE WORST POST! W00T! (-1)

Subject Line Troll (581198) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732199)

This really belongs to YRO... (2)

forged (206127) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732008)

The article goes to the point below:

  • The FTC said Rambus had concealed, while taking part in the group's work, that it held one patent and was seeking others that involved specific technologies proposed for, and ultimately adopted in, the relevant standards.

    By allegedly concealing this information, in violation of JEDEC's operating rules and procedures, and through other alleged bad-faith, deceptive conduct, the complaint charges that Rambus snookered JEDEC into the "misleading impression that it had no relevant intellectual property rights."

Same old story of patents & intellectual property, monopolies, predatory business practices and crooks (dreaming of) pocketing everybody else money.

The good news in their case, is that the memory prices isn't so bad at the moment. _pfew_

No it doesn't, retard. (2)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732095)

How does this affect my rights online? This is a business practices investigation, not an MP3-downloading court case.

- A.P.

CALLING PEOPLE "RETARD" IS RUDE, YOU PIGFUCKER. (-1)

Subject Line Troll (581198) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732128)

Re:No it doesn't, retard. (1)

forged (206127) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732131)

Hmm, you're right it doesn't. I probably had patent pending [slashdot.org] in mind and must have been confused while posting. heh.

In other news (1)

Target Drone (546651) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732010)

In other news Rambus Inc. today quietly dropped it's line of Alzheimer SDRAM memory chips citing customer complaints that 256Meg acted like only 64Meg of memory.

Micron Hasn't hurt prices? What are you smoking? (3, Informative)

Squeezer (132342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732011)

Micron consistantly lobbies Congress to increase the tarriffs on foreign RAM memories makers. Do you know why?

Because Micron can't produce their ram as cheaply as their foreign competitors. So they get Congress to increase the tarriffs to a point where foreign produced ram costs about the same or slightly higher to purchase then Micron ram.

I say boo fucking hoo to Micron. If they can't produce it as cheap as everyone else then they should get out of the business.

How is this not a monopoly?

Re:Micron Hasn't hurt prices? What are you smoking (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732050)

Didn't know that. Thats certainly very interesting, and bad.

BTW, would you know why Micron wouldn't pull a Nike and just start purchasing ram from those foreign competitors, positioning itself as a memory brand rather than manufacturer? Or maybe their brand doesn't have enough value to allow them to compete in this fasion, as they'd just be middlemen? Or maybe there's very little value in brand in the memory market? That sounds plausible, but I'm curious to hear what you think.

Now others allege Micron is undercutting THEM... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732092)

You are behind the times. Micron was using that tack a couple years ago, now their production costs are among the lowest in the industry and they are driving foreign competition out of the market, and some of them are crying to their governments about it, just like Micron in the past in the US.

Of course, if Micron drives enough other companies out of business (like Hynix, which is now in bankruptcy) they will be able to raise their prices since there won't be a surplus of DRAM as is currently the case. The weak PC market has hurt them all, but Micron's low production costs and low debt have them in a better position than some of the competition.

Re:Micron Hasn't hurt prices? What are you smoking (2, Informative)

Cognitive Dissident (206740) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732098)

How is this not a monopoly?

It's not a monopoly because there are still many competitors in the market. But yes, it is anti-competitive -- an unfair way to pursue an advantage over those competitors. I guess you could say they've been using unfair practices to keep their uncompetitive RAM manufacturing business afloat. :)

I'm still wondering why Microsoft's trick of forcing the PC manfacturers to collect the tarrif on non-MS operating systems instead of lobbying the govt. to do it was not anti-competitive, myself...

Re:Micron Hasn't hurt prices? What are you smoking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732127)

Because Micron can't produce their ram as cheaply as their foreign competitors.

Not true, Micon can produce DRAM just as cheap if not cheaper than anyone else. The reason there are tarriffs is because of foreign companies dumping their products in the US way below cost to drive Micron out of business.

Re:Micron Hasn't hurt prices? What are you smoking (1)

cheezedawg (413482) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732219)

Cry me a river. Most companies do lobby congress. It doesn't mean that they are evil monopolies or that they can't produce things as cheaply- its just another tool to try to adjust the supply and demand into their favor.

Lobbying congress does not make a company a monopoly.

Re:Micron Hasn't hurt prices? What are you smoking (0)

Unregistered (584479) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732252)

1) Tarrifs are supposed to protect our buisnesses. 2) The US is not a good environment for a manufacturor. If there aren't tarrifs our manufacturors are fucked b/c of the governments laws. Employee benifits, minimum wage, etc. Why do you think so many companies go overseas for manufacturing? Even 'american' comapnies do much manufacturing in other countreis. (Ford in Mexico, etc.) If American companies want to be competitive we need tarriffs.

More.... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732022)

Of course all rambus has to do now is buy a president to get out from under this.

More editorial bullshit. What if this was about Chinese space technology? Would we see the same statement with a link to a negative Clinton story?

Sometimes slashdot.org is worse than the Yellow Times.

Well said! (2)

Wee (17189) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732229)

Right on! I wish I had moderation points left.

I'm a card-carrying Libertarian and pretty much despise Bush as much as I despised Clinton, but even that "buy the President" crack was a little much for me. As if Microsoft was ever in any danger whatsoever from any government agency or lawsuit. Even if they could "buy themselves a President", they wouldn't have to.

Some people just need a soapbox to stand on I guess. I'm betting we'll hear whining about the Bush/Gore election for many years to come... -B

Re:More.... (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732242)

the only yellow here at slashbot is the urine from the golden showers that katz gives chrisd. the ignorant comments made by the worthless hippies that call themselves editors are the most entertaining part of this toilet.

Alan Thicke DEAD. (-1)

Alan_Thicke (553655) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732027)

I just heard the sad news on CBC radio. Comedy actor/writer Alan Thicke was found dead in his home this morning. Even if you never liked his work, you can appreciate what he did for 80's television. Truly a Canadian icon. [slashdot.org]
He will be missed :(



Show me That Smile (The Growing Pains Theme Song):

Show me that smile again.
Ooh show me that smile.
Don't waste another minute on your crying.
We're nowhere near the end.
We're nowhere near.
The best is ready to begin.

As long as we got each other
We got the world
Sitting right in our hands.
Baby rain or shine;
All the time.
We got each other
Sharing the laughter and love.

Here's some more... (5, Informative)

Marx_Mrvelous (532372) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732029)

This is what they are saying Rambus's actions caused: (quoting the official FTC release) increases in the price - and/or reductions in the use or output - of SDRAM chips, as well as other products incorporating or using SDRAM technology

decreased incentives, on the part of memory manufacturers, to produce memory using SDRAM technology;

decreased incentives, on the part of memory manufacturers and others, to participate in JEDEC or other industry standard-setting organizations or activities;

and both within and outside the memory industry, decreased reliance, or willingness to rely, on standards established by industry standard- setting collaborations.

The wheels of justice grind slowly... (1, Offtopic)

strredwolf (532) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732033)

but they grind to a fine dust.

Thus, spammers should beware the FTC. :)

Micron? (2)

OO7david (159677) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732034)

I'll buy the Rambus claim, but what exactly would make Micron a monopoly? If Salon is correct and Micron is the only US based DRAM manufacturer, I guess by definition that's sort of a monopoly, but I've never seen Micron (well, Crucial) exploit that power in any way.

Does anyone have more solid information?

Re:Micron? (1)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732117)

Micron is the only US based DRAM manufacturer, I guess by definition that's sort of a monopoly

I guess Boeing is a monopoly then, since they're the only US-based manufacturer of large commercial jets...

The FTC looked at that when the Boeing/McDonnell Douglas deal was inked, and they had some concerns. As Boeing poured millions of dollars in to lobbyists, eventually they decided that it didn't matter. Airbus, in Europe, was touted as the competition for Boeing.

Re:Micron? (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732177)

What would make Micron a monopoly is buying the DRAM operations of Hynix (formerly Hyundai) and Toshiba. This makes Micron by far the biggest DRAM manufacturer, with something around 40% market share.

The Hynix/Micron deal keeps falling through, but Hynix is out of money, heavily in debt, and is one generation behind in fabs. Micron, accordingly, isn't offering them much money. They need Micron more than Micron needs them. Unclear whether Micron will buy them, or just take over their market.

Monopolies are *not* illegal (2)

Marx_Mrvelous (532372) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732258)

There is nothig in US law that says a monopoly is illegal. What is illegal is to use the advantage of a monopoly harm other businesses.

If you make a great product and everyone only buys that, there's nothing illegal about it.

US Antitrust/ Micron (1)

URoRRuRRR (57117) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732036)

From the Salon article: Micron is the only DRAM manufacturer based in the United States.

Since when is the US government looking out to protect foreign companies? If the anticompetitive actions were in the DRAM market, then the other companies aren't subject to US trust laws. It sounds anticompetitive to me for Micron to have to play by one set of rules while the rest play by another.

Re:US Antitrust/ Micron (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732084)

I'd be curious to see what trade agreements the US has with these foreign countries.

Given how foreign investor clauses in trade agreements allow foreign companies to seek reperations and damages in other foreign markets when they feel theyre ability to turna profit is being hurt by governmental regulations (at least this is in NAFTA and WTO agreements) .. some other guy says Micro lobbies the government to raise tarrifs on foreign produced RAM. Could it be that if these foreign companies were gearing up to launch suit against the US government for violating some trade pact stipulations, that the US government decided it'd be better to go after Micron before they come under legal scrutiny from Microns competitors? It looks like Micron sought to buy out one of those foreign competitors, this could have just been the spark for a larger situation?

That's one monopoly I can live with (2)

-ryan (115102) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732040)

Micron sells great quality RAM directly to consumers at great prices. That is one monopoly I am willing to live with. Honestly, if they get fucked by this and they are unable to offer competitive RAM prices anymore... I'm gonna be pissed!

-ryan

The case for the Corporate Death Penalty (4, Insightful)

b.foster (543648) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732053)

Most enlightened Americans believe that certain individuals in a society - such as murderers, drug dealers, and socialists - who actively work toward the goal of destroying the system they live in and prosper from, deserve to be removed from society so that they do not harm others. But, although the courts in America have long considered corporations to be the same as individuals under the law, they have been reticent to hold corporations accountable for the crimes they commit in a similar sense.

However, as companies begin to lower their ethical standards and sink to the level of Enron, Anderson, and Rambus, the citizens of this fine nation need to stand up and demand accountability. Rambus should be a rallying cry, and it should be the pilot case for testing the resurrection of the corporate death penalty. Why?

  • Rambus produces nothing. The Rambus technology was licensed (albeit in a very unethical manner) from several other companies. Rambus has never employed a single engineer. They exist only to facilitate the creation and maintenance of an artificial monopoly.
  • Rambus is a threat to other businesses and consumers. Rambus has attempted to assert patent rights on several key, widely deployed technologies, such as SDRAM. This is a textbook example of extortion. Rambus did not create these technologies; they manipulated the sale of them so that they would be able to prosecute their competitors in court. An individual would rot in jail for doing something similar.
  • Rambus does not support alternative operating systems. Thus far, Rambus has refused to cooperate with the Linux developers who are trying to optimize performance on machines with RDRAM. This gives Microsoft an unfair advantage and again hurts the consumer by inhibiting choice.
The list goes on, but the point is clear: Rambus deserves to get the corporate death penalty.

Signal 11 is that you? (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732089)

Fabulous troll.

Re:Signal 11 is that you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732200)

What's an Informaton? Is it some kind of newsreading robot?

Re:The case for the Corporate Death Penalty (1)

cheezedawg (413482) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732143)

Just curious- how would an os optimize performance for different kinds of memory? The hardware already takes care of the DRAM refreshes and stuff. I always thought that the type of RAM was really transparent to the os. Am I missing something?

Re:The case for the Corporate Death Penalty (1)

Fig, formerly A.C. (543042) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732246)

Do not feed the trolls. :-)

Re:The case for the Corporate Death Penalty (2)

pmz (462998) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732167)

Rambus should be a rallying cry, and it should be the pilot case for testing the resurrection of the corporate death penalty.

What do you mean by "resurrection"? Anyway, how does one kill a corporation? You can't shoot it or behead it, since corporations are really networks of corrupt humans. If a corporate brand becomes useless, the humans would regroup under another brand (think shady marketing companie whose name changes every two weeks because they keep spoiling their name).

Worse than death (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732205)

Perhaps instead of the CDP, the proper punishment would be to let Rambus continue as a corporation, but revoke all their patents and declare the intellectual property to be now in the public domain.

Huh? Socialists? (1)

hunterk1 (71707) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732212)

You've included SOCIALISTS in the same list as Murders and Drug-Dealers???

Yeah. Whatever.

Re:Huh? Socialists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732255)

You've included SOCIALISTS in the same list as Murders and Drug-Dealers???

Might as well, socialism can't exist without facist authoritarianism, since it goes against all natural forces of trade and supply and demand.

Socialism requires the initiation of force against someone to steal their money or labor (and give it to someone else). Sounds like a crime to me.

Re:The case for the Corporate Death Penalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732256)

Enron was destroyed because a competitor energy corporation that is a government enforced monopoly in many parts of the country (also the largest broadcast media company and largest government defense contractor) willed it to be so.

misleading summary as ususal (5, Informative)

nexthec (31732) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732055)


Micron Technology Inc., one of the nation's biggest maker of computer memory chips, said it, and other companies, are being investigated by the Department of Justice for alleged "anticompetitive practices."

the key part is "it, and other companies" I firmly belive that micron will not be involved as a defendant, but as a witness and support of the FTC seeing how they pretty much told RAMBUS to eat their shorts and got the FTC involved in the first place.

bad news for Linux? (-1, Redundant)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732062)

It looks like Micron is being dragged over the coals for anti-competitive pricing (e.g., the $30 512MB DIMM sitting in my toaster^H^H^H^H^H^H^HAthlon box). Meanwhile, Rambus is getting, er, rammed for their hardball tactics!

Now, sketchy contracts aside, it must be said that Rambus indirectly did Linux fans a service by cooling off consumers on the higher-end Intel boards (since even the affordable ones had slow, overpriced Rambus memory). In contrast, Micron supplied reasonable-quality products at very affordable (almost too affordable!) prices. Classic case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't."

In any case, the recent boom in Linux in the enterprise has come primarily from its good performance on budget commodity hardware such as that produced by AMD. Why invest in a Sun box when you can do the job with 6 cheap Athlons and good central A/C? (haha...I love AMD, but damn those things run hot!)

In the long run, attacking these companies, even if just, is going to hurt the cheap server market where Linux has been making so much headway. I fear the effects.

If I had a... (1)

FueledByRamen (581784) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732075)

Lentium 4 (gave up good pricing for the rest of its life), I might actually care about Rambus. I say, screw them. They need to be seriously beaten for what they're trying to do to the memory industry. Long live DDR, and RAMBUS can suc^H^H^H, I mean die!!!

In other news, RAMBUS (RMBS (?)) sues Fisher Price for use of the color red and the word 'bus'.
More at 11.

Alan Thicke DEAD. (-1)

Alan_Thicke (553655) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732077)

I just heard the sad news on CBC radio. Comedy actor/writer Alan Thicke was found dead in his home this morning. Even if you never liked his work, you can appreciate what he did for 80's television. Truly a Canadian icon. [slashdot.org]
He will be missed :(



Show me That Smile (The Growing Pains Theme Song):

Show me that smile again.
Ooh show me that smile.
Don't waste another minute on your crying.
We're nowhere near the end.
We're nowhere near.
The best is ready to begin.

As long as we got each other
We got the world
Sitting right in our hands.
Baby rain or shine;
All the time.
We got each other
Sharing the laughter and love.

Who's next, coffee filter producers? (2)

Fastball (91927) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732079)

Is there an industry out there that doesn't have at least one corporation under investigation for some sort of heavy-handed business practices? I know, I know, this is Slashdot where we rattle our sabres at the big corporations. Still, I'm just curious to know if there are companies on the level trying to make a buck. When does this kind of story cease being news and become a red flag that we do something about?

I am a fan of capitalism. Yet, it seems the folks in the wheelhouses of our fleet are lost at sea. Competition = capitalism. Squelching competition = fascism.

Suggestion to corporate officers who would listen: forget the quarter to quarter BS, figure out what your companies are in business to do, lay out a plan to do that well for no less than a couple of years, and do only that. In the end you may not be the titan you dreamed of, but you sure as hell won't be testifying before a Congressional committee or holding penny stocks either.

Re:Who's next, coffee filter producers? (2)

MrResistor (120588) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732225)

Correction: Competition = Free Market. Fascism does not preclude Capitalism, in fact they often go hand in hand. Everyones favorite Fascist regime, Nazi Germany, was a veritable utopia for Capitalists (as long as the weren't Jewish).

The goal of Capitalism is to maximise capital, generally by maximizing profit. Profit is limited by competition. Therefore: Capitalism and Competition are at odds. The goal of any true Capitalist is to establish a monopoly, putting them in a position to maximize profit, and thus amass capital.

Aside from that semantic point, however, I totally agree with you. I think it is critical to the survival of our society that we make it easier to pierce the corporate veil, and thus hold the people responsible for their actions. Only then will we see a change for the better.

Kursk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732082)

from the kursk-meets-rambus dept.

Anyone care to explain this?

Re:Kursk? (-1)

GhostseTroll (582659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732173)

Sure. Here you go [yahoo.com]

I will #@ +20 ; Fabulous @# (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732204)

Slashdot has hired elementary school children
to type bogus submissions that we are witnessing with ACs as authors and no Slashdot user IDs.

Slashdot will be out of business by Jan. 19, 2003.

Windows XP much easier/better than Linux - 0001 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732083)

Buy computer from walmart with mandrake Linux installed.
Buy another computer from walmart with Windows XP installed.
Buy a digital camera, perhaps a Kodak.

Take a picture with the camera.

Now, plug camera in to Windows XP box. A simple wizard appears that lets you transfer the pictures, print them or send them to get developed.

Now, plug in camera to Linux box. Nothing happens.

Windows XP once again much easier to use than Linux.

Re:Windows XP much easier/better than Linux - 0001 (1)

FueledByRamen (581784) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732118)

Taking the bait hook, line, and sinker, but here goes...
What you fail to mention is the price difference. Is spending the time to use Linux camera access software (SANE maybe, or just emulate a storage device) worth the $200 you'll save by not buying XP?

Better yet, just buy the mandrake box and install a pirated copy of 98se dual-booted on it. You'll have a fairly stable gaming OS (98) and a very stable everything-else OS (Mandrake). In the mean time, you won't have to pay the MSFT tax, thus saving you money. Just don't let the BSA (Boy Scouts of America or Business Software Association, , take your pick) come by.

Re:Windows XP much easier/better than Linux - 0001 (-1)

GhostseTroll (582659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732150)

Dude, chill out. Buy a bumper dumper [bumperdumper.com]

Re:Windows XP much easier/better than Linux - 0001 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732198)

Windows XP once again much easier to use than Linux.

Funny, I thought the same thing about your mom!

mr. gates, circa 80's (1)

ohzero (525786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732125)

"512K ought to be enough for anyone." At the end of the day, the consumer isn't going to be able to change the relationship between mass manufacturing and over/under pricing unless he blows up a RAM factory, in which case we're all screwed. Not that I mean to tell everyone to just eat your peas, but A. pricing isn't going to change until rambus is ultra-commonplace, and B. patent mongers are patent mongers, they're all just trying to be the next gemstar.

Give it a rest (5, Insightful)

osgeek (239988) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732155)

Of course all rambus has to do now is buy a president to get out from under this.

Isn't it a tad irresponsible to accuse Bush of being "bought" by Microsoft because his administration is hesitant to interfere with market forces -- even when your typical /. geek would prefer that he did?

Republicans are normally slower to jump on the antitrust bandwagon. Accusations of impropriety are just way out of line, though.

Politcal slant AGAIN (3, Insightful)

cgadd (65348) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732156)

I see the slashdot editors are in true form, never missing the opportunity to show their anti-republican bias by suggesting that President Bush was "bought" by Microsoft.

A quick check of fecinfo.com's donor search shows that Bill Gates has donated generously to MANY democrats. In fact, in this 2002 election cycle, all of the donations shown are to democrats. But overall, Microsoft has given to both main parties and even some independent parties.

Any idiot should be able to figure out that a republican president will be "pro business". Note that microsoft didn't buy a pardon, like some common criminals did from Clinton.....

Oh, I forgot, this is slashdot, so microsoft and republicans are always evil.....

Re:Politcal slant AGAIN (1)

KenSentMe (528496) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732187)

Yep, I agree. Every day I grow more and more tired of seeing /. editors use their mass audience as a chanel to spout their political views. Slant aside, they almost ALWAYS have something biased to say on every single article posted. I am reading less /. every day because of this. Sad.

Where RMBS is really being hurt... (2)

Demon-Xanth (100910) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732157)

...thier pride lies in thier stock price. Which used to be over $120/share, is now a mere $4/share.

Someone high up has to make a state of the organization address to some REALLY unhappy investors that were hoping that the $120-$16 run would come bouncing back.

Too many falls like this may prove fatal.

poor business stategy... (3, Insightful)

rlthomps-1 (545290) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732162)

Rambus has been pulling some rather blatant violations of anti trust laws especially with the whole JDEC thing... doesn't their upper management see that? It just seems so silly of them to pull this kind of stuff when they could continue their revenue growth based on the strength of legitimate business practices. Ethics issues aside, doesn't it make more sense to play right rather than take the risk of losing your Intellectual property and losing your money in court? [pcworld.com] They took a significant risk and lost with their legal strategy starting to crack.

Is it a sign of a greater ethics issue in the industry or is it high level management who can't figure out how to solve a problem other than to pursue a costly and risky legal battle? I think its both, and investors should be wary about putting any more money into this company.

reality check on editor commentary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732164)

You do know that Al Gore was the one visiting the Microsoft campus during the campaign. And that Bill Gates stayed at the White House during the Clinton administration. And that Microsoft donated more to Democrats than Republicans in 2000.

Not that Bush wasn't bought, too. He just won, and was cheaper.

I think the government needs to focus on... (1)

bitrate (460396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732182)

...other issues besides nailing companies to the wall for attempting to prevent others from succeeding.

There are tens of thousands of homeless people in America, a health care system that is bleeding money (pardon the pun) and a Cabinet that has NO problem overspending for things they hardly need (ie. ground-based antimissile lasers).

If anything, it's likely that the millions of dollars in fines that will be garnered from hundreds of anti-trust suits will be used for nothing more than to line the pockets of those in the government that keep the focus away from the serious issues.

I work in marketing and I feel that there is nothing wrong with a pure monopoly within a category, provided that the company is producing high-quality goods that satisfies the customers. If you allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to pump out inferior products in order to prevent a monopoly, all you will do is create a bad image for the product and everyone will lose.

Granted, Microsoft engineers write bad code that is rife with bugs, but their products still sell -- because they're useful and allow for productivity. Remember all those pathetic side-scroller games that were pushed based on movie licenses? Same issue, different color.

Just my 2 cents.

Buy a President? (3, Insightful)

I_am_God_Here (413090) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732183)

Of course all rambus has to do now is buy a president
What is that supposed to mean? Gates gave tons of money to Gore but not Bush. Every time Bush does something that helps a company you all act like he was paid off. Here is the truth. He is a republican and as one believes that companies should be left alone by the government. A good republican, and libertarians to, shoul alway fight for the repel of laws that inhibit fair business. Most non-techies don't understand that M$ is evil they just see another business.
Thus Republican + Nontechie = doesn't worry about M$. For better or worse that is the way it is.

Off-topic: Buy a president, get out of jail free (1, Offtopic)

Raindeer (104129) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732194)

Of course all rambus has to do now is buy a president to get out from under this.

Isn't it pretty bad, that a comment like this can be made and many people, myself included, would agree to how right it is? If you calculate how much money is given to PAC's etc., than you might be able to argue that the United States has one of the most corrupt governments in the world. Depending on who you paid and how much you paid, you do or don't get attention for your problems and a listening ear for your ideas. Now, Western countries (yes, other democratic countries also have this problem) might say to third world countries that they need to do something about corruption, and rightfully so, but the democratic West needs to watch out they don't fall into the same pitfalls.
A government shouldn't let its policies to be determined by the amount of money that has been given to them. But hey, you may say that I'm a dreamer

apple must die (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3732224)

Holy fucking shit! Who's next... Apple? Oh god I hope so...

"Buying" favor (1)

Bingo Foo (179380) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732232)

As some have already pointed out, Gates donations to Dems outpaces donations to Republicans. Why? He's betting that Democrats will sell out their stated principles for money, whereas Republicans already want to leave business alone. If you want to see Republicans selling out, look at the American steel industry. Nothing to see here in antitrust; move along.

not only monopolies ... (2, Informative)

bigpat (158134) | more than 12 years ago | (#3732257)

"Wow, if it's a monopoly, then it certainly hasn't hurt prices."

Not only monopolies are guilty of anticompetive acts. Basically, any action that is "in restraint of trade" or "deceptive" by businesses are illegal.
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