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The worst, best of times for NAND

Posted: 19 Aug 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NAND? Summit Flash Memory? megafab?

Call it a paradox in the semiconductor industry.

The NAND flash memory market is still seeing a horrific downturn, as the industry is saddled with too much capacity. But over time, there is a need for 10 more megafabs in the market to keep up with emerging demand for NAND, according to the top executive of SanDisk Corp.

"Our industry is facing some challenging times," said Eli Harari, chairman and CEO of SanDisk, during a keynote at last week's Flash Memory Summit in California. "The industry is not in a healthy state."

The NAND flash sector is still engulfed in a "two-and-a-half-year downturn," where prices have fallen by a whopping 60 percent over the past three years, Harari said.

On top of that, there is a severe oversupply situation in NAND. There is reportedly 10 percent too much NAND capacity in the market today, driving most vendors into the red, sources said. In comparison, DRAM vendors, which are also in bad shape, are seeing 1-2 percent too much capacity in the market.

Needless to say, "the market is waiting for applications" to propel the slumping sector, he said.

Among the emerging applications include add-in cards, mobile devices, solid-state storage devices and others. To prepare for the eventual upturnand new applicationsHarari insists that the industry still needs 10 more "megafabs" to keep up with NAND demand.

"The sky is not falling," he said. "There are new applications" on the horizon for NAND.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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