Email Shows Evidence Of Nvidia Price-Fixing

Dennis Faas's picture

At least 51 separate civil antitrust actions against Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices/ATI Technologies (AMD/ATI) alleging price-fixing in the graphics processing unit (GPU) market received a major boost when emails from competing executives suggesting how to keep prices high were read during a recent hearing.

The cases assert price-fixing in various types of computer chips, flat panel screens and cathode ray tubes. U.S. District Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California (in San Francisco) berated defense lawyers for trying to keep what they consider trade secret documents sealed throughout the public hearing. (Source:

Judge Alsup told plaintiff attorneys that he didn't care "if it is under seal and it is the recipe for Coke, you have my permission to blurt it out." If class action certification is granted it could have significant ramifications. After the email was read aloud, Judge Alsup noted that it was not good for the defense, that a jury would like to see it and that he would take the class certification issue under submission at the close of arguments.

Tom's Hardware obtained the legal documents for the filing and all the exhibits which show detailed email exchanges between top AMD/ATI and Nvidia executives and managers. One email referred to 'working more closely together.'

The class action filing alleges that, in violation of the federal antitrust laws, Nvidia and AMD/ATI conspired to fix, raise, maintain and stabilize prices of graphics processing chips and cards and unlawfully colluded to coordinate new product introductions and seeks to cover triple damages, attorney fees and other costs associated with federal antitrust laws.

Only two years ago, both AMD and Nvidia were reported to have conspired in similar antitrust behavior. Reports from 2006 allege that Nvidia and AMD/ATI executives exchanged emails in an effort to stabilize and maintain minimum pricing for both chips and cards. More information can be found from, Tom's Hardware and The Register UK.

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