It's not just the bloggers, the journalists, the Wall Street suits, and the battery burn victims that are down on Sony these days ... Alberto Gonzalez and the legal eagles down at the Department of Justice have decided to pile on. What are they mad about? Hint: it's not exploding batteries or a hefty price tag.
Nope, apparently Sony is part of an industry-wide inquiry into sales of SRAM. According to a Sony spokesman, even though they don't manufacture the SRAM themselves, they sold $27.7 million worth of it in 2005. Sony responded to the inquiry simply, stating, "Sony intends to cooperate fully with the DoJ in what appears to be an industry-wide inquiry." How else could this be ugly? Well, according to Howstuffworks.com, "The [PS3's] SPEs each come loaded with 256 KB SRAM. This high-speed memory helps each SPE crunch numbers quickly."
It's unclear what the inquiry is related to, but the AP reports that, "a separate Justice Department investigation into price-fixing among DRAM companies has so far resulted in more than a dozen charges against individuals and more than $731 million in fines against" various RAM manufacturers. According to the website for a pending class action lawsuit, "several marketers and sellers of SRAM formed a cartel and conspired to reverse the steady decline of SRAM prices that occurred from 1994-97. The conspiracy was successful. Beginning in 1998, SRAM prices increased dramatically and continued to increase through 2001. Even when SRAM prices dipped in 2002, the cartel's conspiracy was still able to keep SRAM prices at an artificially high level. By engaging in its illegal, anti-competitive activity, the cartel caused purchasers of SRAM to pay supra-competitive prices."
[Thanks to everyone that sent this in!]