NAND Flash Important to Both Intel and Micron
October 12, 2010
This articles discusses the comment by an industry analyst that Intel and Micron may be parting ways in the NAND flash memory business. He believes that Intel will get out of NAND flash with Micron continuing to invest in the NAND flash technology and fabs.
1. Although there is always a possibility that Intel will decide to get out of NAND flash in a manner similar to how it got out of other memory technologies including NOR flash and DRAM, I believe they will stay in the joint venture. NAND flash is important to not only the SSD business, but may also become important to Intel in the mobile chip set and wireless business's.
2. It is important to recognize that the dominant players in NAND flash are Samsung and Toshiba/SanDisk each of which have market shares in the 35% range. The other players in this market Hynix, Intel/Micron each have market shares under 10%. This is not to say that Intel/Micron does not have industry leading product, particularly with their announcement of 25 NM NAND flash.
3. Another key market segment that uses NAND flash where both Intel and Micron participate heavily is in memory used in notebooks, sub notebooks, and IPAD like computing devices. It is hard to imagine that both of these firms would not like to offer more of the total semiconductor content to their customer base.
4. With all this being said, it is still possible that Intel will abandon the flash memory business figuring that they have bigger fish to fry, and may be able to arrange supply agreements