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Five reasons why Micron stays optimistic

Posted: 04 Feb 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NAND flash? memory market? DRAM?

Intel Corp. and Micron Technology Inc. have reclaimed process technology lead in NAND flash, with the rollout of the first in a family of 25nm devices.

The 25nm device is made at IM Flash Technologies LLC, a joint NAND fab venture between Intel and Micron. As part of a fab tour and press event at IM Flash, a 300mm fab based here, EE Times talked shop with Brian Shirley, VP of Micron's memory group.

Shirley is still somewhat worried about the overall economy. But for the most part, he's an optimist. Here are five reasons why he is upbeat:

1. The memory business is up. "2009 was a pretty difficult year in the pure-play memory business. The memory market is going better now. On the demand side, there is a pent up inventory cycle. We're breathing a little better now. For us, we've been very pleased about the continuing business." Micron recently recorded its first profit in three years during the period ended Dec. 3, topping Wall Street's expectations with sales of $1.74 billion.

2. The DRAM market recovers! "The DRAM market looks pretty good. The server market, in particular, has been very strong. Even the desktop and notebook markets have exceeded our expectations."

3. NAND is stable. "For the better part of 2009, the NAND market stabilized. As we get into 2010, we're back into a stable environment. (There's appears to be) an under-supply of NAND for the remainder of this year. We are seeing signals of shortages in the second half of 2010."

4. Killer app found? "In the NAND space, we were missing a new application. (Regarding new markets), we're enthusiastic about the (e-book and iPad) market. Our 25nm part makes these new applications more realistic."

5. NAND still scales. "At least for the moment, (Moore's Law) is not slowing for NAND. There's a growing number of analysts out there that say 15- to 10nm is realistic. (Several next-generation memory startups) have all assumed NAND scaling has slowed down. But still, they can't catch NAND. But still, it's getting more difficult to scale."

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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