US Dept. of Justice probes Sony SRAM sales

DOJ investigation appears to be widening

The U.S. Department of Justice probe into the SRAM (static RAM) chip market appears to be widening.]

Sony said Tuesday that its U.S. unit, Sony Electronics, has received a subpoena from the DOJ seeking information on its SRAM business. In a brief statement the company said it will cooperate with the request.

Earlier this month, four other SRAM companies said they had also been contacted by the DOJ. They are Cypress Semiconductor, which was first to announce it had been contacted, and the U.S. units of Mitsubishi Electric, Samsung Electronics, and Toshiba.

SRAM is typically used as a memory buffer in devices such as computers and hard-disk drives. It can retain data as long as power is supplied. That puts it between DRAM (dynamic RAM), which retains data with power but requires refreshing, and flash memory, which retains data even when power is not supplied.

The nature of the DOJ's requests is not clear.