Micron Technology Inc. (Boise, Idaho) is not releasing samples of its 3D-NAND non-volatile memory components because it expects to see the main market for technology in system-level products, such as solid-state drives, and does not want to tip its hand to competitors.
Mark Durcan, CEO of Micron, told a conference call held to discuss the company's second fiscal quarter financial results that he did not see a benefit in putting a 3D-NAND samples out into to the market for competitors to see right now. "I think we want to wait till a little bit closer to where we have those system level solutions enabled and then of course we’ll be working closely with our most-valued customers to make sure they understand what’s coming down the pipe and the value we can deliver for and with it.
Durcan said he still expects Micron's 3D-NAND to be in the market at the end of 2014 but that the market will not really take off until the second half of 2015 and possibly even later than that.
"Yes we have very good progress I think on our 3D NAND technology. We're very excited we've got the functional components with very strong device characteristics. I'm talking about things like read-window budgets and the tightness of our programming levels etc. So we're very, very excited about it. We decided that we’re not going to sample for now. We like our relative competitive position and where we are relative to where we hear others might be. And so we're going till we're a little closer to volume production before we unnecessarily expose ourselves by getting samples out there in the market place," Durcan said.
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. began mass production of a 128-Gbit NAND flash memory integrated in 24 layers in August 2013. Durcan declined to say how many layers of memory it is including in its 3D-NAND component.
Despite the slightly cool stance on 3D-NAND Micron was able to report a strong second financial quarter with a net income of $731 million on sales of $4.107 billion.
Sales were up 2 percent on the previous quarter and up 98 percent compared with the same quarter a year. The strength of the uplift was partly on the acquisition of Elpida Memory Inc. and Rex Chip.
Revenues from sales of NAND flash components were 11 percent higher in the second quarter of fiscal 2014 compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2014 primarily due to a 35 percent increase in sales volume offset by an 18 percent decrease in average selling prices. Revenues from sales of DRAM products were essentially unchanged in the second quarter of fiscal 2014 compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2014 as both sales volumes and average selling prices remained stable.
Cash flows from operations for the second quarter of fiscal 2014 were $1.39 billion, while investments in capital expenditures were $565 million. The company ended the second fiscal quarter with cash and marketable investments of $5.06 billion.
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