JULY 15th, 2005
AMD (NYSE:AMD) with its financial report for the second quarter
of its 2005 year reported that its microprocessor sales reached record levels. According to Robert J. Rivet, CFO at AMD, "Our
microprocessor business delivered another record quarter driven by increased demand for AMD server and mobile processors from
our largest global OEM customers. Once again we continued to gain momentum with microprocessor sales growth increasing 38
percent compared to the second quarter of 2004. The solid overall demand was enhanced by our newer processor offerings. Strong
Dual-Core AMD Opteron processor sales contributed to an 89 percent revenue increase in our server products from the prior
quarter. This demonstrates the acceptance of the AMD64 platform by enterprise customers. Likewise, the AMD Turion64 processor
captured more than 60 design wins and drove record mobile sales in the thin-and-light mobile PC category."
He also indicated that AMD’s overall memory and MirrorBit
flash memory sales also increased, "Memory Products Group sales increased slightly in the quarter, driven by record MirrorBit
Flash memory sales and overall higher unit demand." AMD reported also that MirrorBit Flash memory sales increased to over
20 percent of total Memory Products Group sales in the second quarter, driven by demand from the wireless market and 110 nanometer
MirrorBit chips. For the year-over-year period, however, AMD’s
Memory Products Group sales decreased. For the second quarter of 2005, memory sales were $462 million, a drop of 31 percent
when compared to the second quarter of 2004, but a 3 percent increase from $447 million posted in the first quarter of 2005.
Overall, total sales for the second quarter of 2005 were $1.260
billion, compared to $1.227 billion in the first quarter of 2004 and $1.262 billion in the second quarter of 2005.
Computation Product Group sales, which include AMD’s microprocessors,
were $767 million in the second quarter of 2005 compared to $750 million in the first quarter of 2005 and $558 million in
the second quarter of 2004. AMD expects that microprocessor sales’ growth will exceed normal seasonal patterns. The
company did not reflect on prospects for memory chips sales due to the SEC filing of Spansion, a joint venture of AMD and
JUNE 3rd, 2005
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has begun production of one of the
world's largest flash memory chips. The 4 Gbit NAND flash chips are now being produced on a 70-nanometer process technology
at its 300 mm wafer facility, Line 14. That facility has been scheduled to initially produce 4,000 wafers per month and then
ramp to 15,000 wafers per month by the end of the year.
The 4Gbit NAND flash includes over 4 billion tiny memory cells,
measuring just 0.025 square microns each. The chip has a write data speed of 16 Mbytes per second, which is a 50 percent improvement
in speed from its 2 Gbit NAND flash device. Samsung indicates that the faster write speed permits the device to be used in
real time data storage for high definition video applications.
The introduction of the 4 Gbit flash chips follows a predictable
succession of flash chips every year, with higher density and faster speeds. Samsung developed a 256Mbit in 1999, a 512Mbit
in 2000, a 1Gbit in 2001, a 2Gbit in 2002, a 4Gbit in 2003 and a 8Gbit in 2004. Based on the time between development and
production, Samsung is likely to enter mass production of its 8Gbit NAND flash in 2006.
Line 14 in addition to the production of 70 nanometer NAND flash
chips is also used in the production of 90-nanometer 2Gbit NAND flash memory chips.
MAY 18th, 2005
STMicroelectronics to Downsize, 3000
to Exit - To Exclude Asia
STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM) on the heels of a disappointing earnings report, has now made
restructuring plans, which once completed, are expected to save $90 million a year. The plan as announced will eliminate 3,000
jobs by the middle of 2006. The company indicated that the layoffs will not include employees at its Asian locations.
STMicroelectronics for the first quarter of 2005 reported net revenues
of $2,083 million down 10.3 percent from $2,328 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2005, and up 2.6 percent from the
$2.029 reported in the first quarter of 2004. STMicroelectronics, however reported that year-over-year automotive and wireless
applications revenue grew at double digit rates year over year and that data storage products grew in the high single digit
For the first quarter of 2005, STMicroelectronics divisional sales
included $1,188 million from its Application Specific Product Groups (ASPD), $457 million form its Microcontroller, Linear
and Discrete Group (MLD), $421 million from its Memory Products Group (MPG) and $17 million from its other group. This compares
to $1,161 million for ASPD, $420 million for MLD, $431 million for MPG and $17 million for the others group in the first quarter
of 2004. For the fourth quarter of 2004, revenue for the ASPD group was $1,329 million, for MLD was $494 million, for MPG
was $486 million and for the others group, $18 million.
MAY 10th, 2005
STMicroelectronics and Hynix Begin Construction of Joint 300 mm Wafer Fab
in China - to Produce Memory Chips
Hynix ST Semiconductor Ltd., the new name of the China based joint wafer fab venture between Hynix Semiconductor and
STMicroelectronics, is under construction and is scheduled to begin production in 2006. The facility will eventually include
two fabs, one 8 inch and one 12 inch, for the manufacture of DRAMs and NAND flash memory. The 8 inch DRAM facility will be
the first to come on line, in first half of 2006, followed by the 12 inch NAND flash fab in the second half of 2006. The total
initial investment in the operation comes with a price tag of $2 billion. Hynix will own 67 percent of the facility and STMicroelectronics
Unsubstantiated reports indicate that the DRAM facility will initially produce 20,000 8-inch wafers per
month and the NAND flash facility will produce 17,000 wafers per month. Packaging and test are also to be conducted at the
MAY 9th, 2005
Hynix Semiconductor Inc. for its first quarter of 2005, ended March
31, 2005 reported revenue of 1,270 billion won, a decrease of 12% from the prior quarter's revenue of 1,450 billion won. Conversely,
Hynix stated that income increased 53% to 321 billion won compared to 209 billion won in its last quarter. The company attributed
the decline in revenue to a strong decline in DRAM prices despite bit growth and a weak US dollar. At the same time Hynix
says that NAND flash memory sales increased significantly because of factory capacity considerations and a more favorable
NAND flash market.
On a parent basis, Hynix reported that sequential revenue only declined
4 percent and net income increased 70 percent.
MAY 6th, 2005
Lexar Media Achieves Quarterly Run Rate of $232 Million - Up
Lexar Media, Inc. (NASDAQ: LEXR) has begun to carve out a share of the flash memory market.
With the announcement of first quarter revenue of $232.4 million the company is in range of the $1 billion annual revenue
mark, that is if the market holds. Eric Stang, Chairman, CEO and President, Lexar, indicated that product pricing may
stand in the way for the near term, "Looking at the second quarter, we see pricing pressures have now re-emerged as a major
competitive issue as we see certain competitors moving to reduce prices aggressively in the marketplace. As a result of this
uncertainty, our visibility is limited, and we are providing only a general outlook for the second quarter. We anticipate
second quarter revenues to be approximately $200 million and a net loss for the quarter due primarily to price reductions
and price protection obligations as well as ongoing legal expenses." The fortunes of Lexar depend to a degree on its law suit
with Toshiba, a major competitor in the flash market. A hearing to be held on May 16, 2005 will determine whether or
not an injunction against Toshiba will be imposed. Although Lexar won a major settlement with Toshiba, Toshiba has indicated
it will appeal.
For the first quarter, Lexar revenues increased 41% from $164.7
million in the same period last year. The first quarter is a 23% sequential increase from $188.5 million in the prior fourth
MAY 2nd, 2005
Samsung has released reports that its NAND based flash memory has
been designed into Microsoft Corporation's Hybrid Hard Drive. The hybrid disk drive is considered unique in that it offers
the combined and additive features of low-cost rotating disk drives and higher priced flash based non-rotating memory. The
hybrid design, because it minimizes the need for the disk drive motor to rotate the drive, helps minimize the overall power
consumption - potentially opening up a number of new portable applications markets.
Microsoft's Tom Phillips, General Manager of Windows Hardware Experience
Group commented on the performance of the disk drive architecture, "Hybrid drive architecture is extremely important to the
future design of mobile computers. It is an advancement that will improve the performance and reliability of any computer
using the Windows 'Longhorn' operating system. We are delighted with the performance in our initial testing of the Samsung
hybrid hard drive prototype. This is another example of where Microsoft is working with the industry to dramatically improve
the overall Windows computing experience for our customers."
Notebooks based on the Hybrid Hard Drive are expected to be shipped
in volume in late 2006.
APRIL 28th, 2005
Intel Reports Quarterly Revenue Increases
- Cellular Processors Double
Intel, the world's leading microprocessor manufacturer, reported quarterly sales of $9,434
million for its latest quarter ended April 2, 2005. This was up from $8,091 million reported for the same quarter a year ago.
Intel also indicated that year-over-year its microprocessor revenue was $6,895 million, up from $6,150 million a year ago,
but down from $6,993 million reported for its last quarter. Flash revenue for the latest quarter was also down sequentially
to $578 million from $643 million. However flash revenue was up on a year-over-year basis from $417 million. Chipset and board
revenue was essentially flat on a sequential basis at $1,961 million, but up from $1,524 million from the same quarter a year
Intel also indicated that in the quarter it logged record shipments
of application processors for cellular phones. Intel says that unit sales almost doubled over first quarter of last year.
This was attributed to a ramp in volume needed to supply cell phone customers like Motorola, Palm and Samsung. Other
major events in the quarter included Toshiba’s selection of Intel's 854 chipset for use in a high definition DVD player,
Fujitsu's selection of the Itanium processor for its line of enterprise servers, the introduction of Intel's first 90 nanometer
based flash chips and working microprocessor samples of a 65 nanometer based microprocessors - production scheduled for four
300 mm factories in 2006. Intel also introduced its WiMAX chip and announced plans to further develop WiMAX solutions with
ZTE, one of China's largest telecom equipment companies. Additionally, Intel plans to conduct WiMAX field trials with Alcatel.
ARPIL 21, 2005
Samsung reports that it has a 4 Gbit NAND devices with a size suitable
for the 3G multimedia cellular handset market. The 4 Gbit OneNAND with a size of 11x13x1.4mm, was made possible with a 90
nanometer manufacturing technology, which enables four 1 Gbit OneNAND memory chips to be stacked into a quad die package.
The chip is capable of storing 250 sequential photographs with 5 mega pixel resolution or 120 music files. Sustained read
data rate is given at 108 MBytes per second and write rate at 10 MBytes per second. The manufacturing process used was developed
Tom Quinn, Senior VP Sales and Marketing for Samsung Semiconductor
commented on the memory's expected market impact, "In addition to recently announced advances in next-generation mobile DRAM
and multi-chip package (MCP) memory, the new 4Gb OneNAND will help to solidify our leadership position in the rapidly expanding
mobile convergence market."
APRIL 14th, 2005
AMD has announced that its microprocessor business has achieved
record sales growth. Robert J. Rivet, AMD's CFO gave some of the details, "Our microprocessor business delivered record sales
in what is typically a seasonally down quarter, driven by increased sales across all product categories. We continued to gain
momentum with year-over-year sales growth of 31 percent, highlighted by AMD Opteron(TM) and AMD Athlon(TM) 64 processor sales,
each of which more than doubled from a year ago." He also commented on AMD's performance in the memory market, also for the
company's first quarter of 2005, "The NOR Flash memory market continued to experience industry-wide oversupply
and strong pricing pressure. We experienced a rise in unit shipments, but our average selling price (ASP) declined significantly,
resulting in weaker than expected sales."
Overall for the first quarter of 2005, AMD reported sales of $1.236
billion compared to $1.264 billion in the fourth quarter of 2004. For the Computation Products Group (CPG), which includes
microprocessor revenue, AMD reported sales of $750 million, which is up 31 percent from the first quarter of 2004 and three
percent from the fourth quarter 2004 levels of $730 million. The growth in microprocessor sales was attributed to record
high server and mobile processor sales and the greater China market. AMD also indicated that AMD64 processor sales grew a
record 30 percent sequentially and represented 63 percent of CPG sales. Additionally, AMD indicated operations improvements.
AMD's manufacturing process transition from 130 nanometers to 90 nanometers was ahead of schedule and yields were higher than
anticipated. Other events in the quarter included new server and enterprise customers. AMD lists these new customers as Akamai,
Cable & Wireless, EDS, Goodyear, Honda, Lucas Films, MBNA, MetLife of Mexico and SingTel EXPAN Data Centers.
In the Memory Group sales were however down 29 percent to $447 million
from the first quarter of 2004 and down 11 percent from $504 million in the fourth quarter of 2004.
Spansion, which has just filed an IPO with the SEC, and is the NOR
Flash venture of AMD and Fujitsu has begun shipments of its 256 Mbit Flash chip to three of the top headset manufacturers,
which are heavy users of flash technology. AMD also reported in the quarter that Spansion had begun volume shipments of a
512 Mbit NOR flash chip for embedded applications. Spansion also received Most Valued Partner award from Samsung Electronics
Co Ltd. for 2004 and Best Supplier award from Lenova Mobile Communications Technology.
MARCH 30th, 2005
Ramtron, which has seen sales of its 128Kbit and 64Kbit ferroelectric RAMs
rise considerably, has opened another segment of the memory market with the introduction of a 1 MBit device, called the FM20L08
. The 1 MBit device, because it is used to replace DRAMs, SRAMs and Flash EEPROMs, has triple the market power of a standard
memory chip. This device, which is SRAM socket compatible has a 128K x 8 nonvolatile structure, an access time of 60 ns, high-speed
page mode rated at 33 MHz bus speed for a 4-byte burst and a cycle time of 150 ns. In a 32-pin TSOP the part is priced at
$13.65 in quantities of 10,000.
At Ramtron, Mike Alwais, Vice President, FRAM Products stated, ""The new
ATD scheme greatly improves the ease of use for design engineers when using our parallel FRAM products. This product drops
directly into an SRAM design, allowing the easy replacement of undesirable battery-backed SRAM solutions. The FM20L08 has
a diverse target market, and we have seen significant customer interest in samples from end applications such as automotive
telematics, set-top boxes, industrial controls, and utility metering."
MARCH 28th, 2005
Although a jury has found Toshiba, one of the world's largest producer
of flash memory chips, liable in a legal case that involves trade theft secrets, Toshiba has stated its intentions to
appeal. The damages were serious enough for the jury to award Lexar Media $465.4 million. The amount, a sizable portion
of the flash market, included $84 million in punitive damages, The jury found that Toshiba Corp. was
not only oppressive, but also fraudulent and malicious.
However the real moment of truth is expected to come on or after
April 13th. On that date, a hearing is to be held on an injunction requested by Lexar. Lexar is expected to ask the
court to bar Toshiba's flash chips from the United States market. This would include Toshiba's NAND flash chips,
and Toshiba's CompactFlash, Secure Digital and xD Picture Card products. If Lexar is successful in its injunction,
Toshiba may also see its flash products also banned in other countries in the world.
Toshiba's customers most likely won't be pleased either. If
Lexar wins an injunction against Toshiba it could also proceed with legal steps to ban its customers' products from the United
States, of which there are very many. Flash chips are found in almost every type of electronic device - from MP3 players to
cellular phones. In today's market it is not uncommon for integrated circuit companies to take steps to ensure
every possible way for a chip to enter a market is blocked.
Other market leaders in the flash chip market, such as Samsung,
Intel, STMicroelectronics and Spansion could see their market shares increase from a worldwide injunction on Toshiba's flash
chips. On the other hand, SanDisk, another major flash vendor with annual sales in the order of $1.8 billion,
has significant ties with Toshiba. This includes a multibillion joint wafer fabrication venture called Flash Partners,
MARCH 24th, 2005
Atmel Reaches 6.4 Billion Serial EEPROM, Serial Flash Mark
a indication of its presence in the non-volatile market, Atmel announced that it will have produced 6.4 billion serial EEPROM and serial Flash chips as of March 24th, 2005. It took the
company 12 years to reach that number. Atmel forecasts that it will double that number in the next five years (or about 1.28
billion units per year or approximately 106 million units per month.
MARCH 16th, 2005
Toshiba and Sandisk Complete Environmental Friendly Wafer Fab
Toshiba and Sandisk plan
for their environmentally friendly wafer fabrication facility to enter the production phase in the second half of calendar
year 2005. The cost of Fab 3 is expected to rise to 270-billion yen by the end of March 2007. The fab has been designed to
reduce the carbon dioxide and perfluorocarbons from its clean room in the order of 30 percent over the levels of Toshiba's
current 200 millimeter wafer clean rooms. The investment costs are shared by Toshiba and Sandisk through their joint venture,
Flash Partners, Ltd.
The facility, which was
officially opened in late February, called Fab 3, is to produce NAND flash memories on 12 inch (300 millimeter) wafers. By
late 2005, the facility is expected to produce 10,000 wafers per month. Plans are to ramp the facility to 40,000 wafers per
month by the first half of 2007. The facility has been designed so that it would eventually be able to have a capacity of
62,500 wafers per month.
Initially the wafer fab
will produce wafers based on a 90-nanometer (nm) process technology then in the first half of 2006 move to 70 nm and then
go all the way down to 55 nm in late 2006. NAND flash based on 70 nm technology is scheduled at the existing Yokkaichi 200
millimeter wafer fab in 2005.
Justifying the investment,
Mr. Masashi Muromachi, Corporate Vice President of Toshiba Corporation and President & CEO of Toshiba's Semiconductor
Company, indicated, when the plant opened, that the NAND Flash market is expected to see an annual growth rate of 30 percent
between 2004 to 2008 and is expected to grow from a 700 billion yen market to 2,100 billion yen market.
The site area of the facility
is 24,300 square meters, with a floor area of 113,000 square meters and a clean room area of 34,500 square meters. The site
is located at Toshiba's Yokkaichi Operations, which has served as the primary wafer fabrication manufacturing center for Toshiba
since 1992. The address there is 800 Yamanoisshiki-cho, Yokkaichi-shi, Mie Prefecture, Japan. The Yokkaichi Operations has
about 1,950 employees, a total area of 312,000 square meters and a building area of 180,000 square meters, which does not
include the 24,300 square meters of the new Fab 3 facility. The facility in 2005 is managed by the General Manager Jiro Ooshima.
MARCH 2, 2005
Catalyst's Mixed Signal Revenues Continue to Show Sharp Increases
Catalyst Semiconductor (NASDAQ:CATS), a
programmable and analog mixed signal fabless semiconductor company reported that its third quarter revenues, ended January
31, 2005, were $13.7 million with a net income of $0.11 million compared to $16.9 million with a net income of $2.4 million
for the same quarter in 2004. For the second quarter of its fiscal 2005 year,
sales were $15.6 million.
The company indicated that the decline
in revenues was attributed to a decrease in unit volumes and average selling prices for its EEPROM chips and a decrease in
unit volumes for its Flash products. The company's new analog mixed signal products
accounted for about $0.73 million or 5.3 percent of total revenue for the its latest third quarter, which was a significant
increase from the $0.55 million recorded in the second quarter of 2005 and the $0.31 million recorded in the third quarter
of fiscal 2004. Because of the increases, analog and mixed signal products have
risen as a percentage of total sales.
FEBRUARY 15th, 2005
Analog Devices Plans M-Systems Flash for Handset Chips
Analog Devices has verified that M-Systems DiskOnChip multi-level flash memory
products are compatible with its SoftFone family of baseband processors. Mark Martin, product line director, Analog Devices
Inc. believes that the combination of M-Flash flash products and the SoftFone baseband processors will allow for a very cost-effective
solution to the new breed of multimedia phones that are emerging in the marketplace. David Tolub, general manager of M-Systems'
mobile division feels that the collaboration is an important step to giving customers the needed memory required for a multimedia
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FEBRUARY 2, 2005
China’s Flash Foundry Capacity Funded
Silicon Storage Technology (SST), encouraged by strong demand for flash technology from mainland China’s fabless and chip design houses through its SST China unit, has reported that
it has signed a licensing agreement with Nanotech Corporation, a foundry based in Changzhou
Hi-Tech region of China. As part of the
agreement Nanotech will license SST’s 0.25 micron flash semiconductor process and serve as SST’s China foundry for flash based products. As part of the agreement,
SST’s subsidiary, SST International has purchased Series B preferred shares of Nanotech Corp. SST China was established
in 2001 to provide memory design services to the China market.
SST is betting on demand for serial flash chips to exceed 500 million units in 2005. Growth will apparently come from optical disk drives, hard
disk drives such as one-inch and smaller versions, LCD monitors, LCD TVs, MP3
players. SST plans to rely on its flash foundry partners: Grace Semiconductor, Seiko Epson and TSMC to meet the demand.
FEBRUARY 1, 2005
Kilopass Enters Into Non-Volatile
Memory Agreement With Tower
Kilopass Technology Inc.
announced that it has entered into an agreement with Tower Semiconductor Ltd, Israel’s primary chip foundry.
The agreement was called a foundry technology agreement.
Kilopass provides secure
non-volatile memory cores. The memory cores security features differ from standard flash memory cores. The contents of Kilopass
XPN memory is considered more secure than flash memory. One of the reasons is that the data in Kilopass’ memory can’t
be read even if the chip is reverse engineered.
JANUARY 31, 2005
Fujitsu Reports 7 Percent Drop in Semiconductor Sales
For its third quarter, ended
December 31, 2004, Fujitsu’s Electronic Devices division reported that semiconductor revenue fell 7.3 percent from the
year ago period. Semiconductor sales were 96.4 Billion Yen in Fujitsu’s
third quarter. For the nine month period, semiconductor sales gained 10.5 percent to reach 316.5 billion yen. For its fiscal year, which ends in March 2005, Fujitsu forecasts that its total semiconductor sales will
reach 420 billion yen, up 4 percent over last years revenue of 403.9 billion yen. Also for its fiscal year, Fujitsu forecasts
that logic chips will make up 72 percent of its total sales, and system memory, which includes flash chips, 28 percent.
The decrease in revenue was
attributed to weakness in the company’s flash memory and consumer logic chip products. The division reported, however,
that orders of advanced technology increased. Flash chip revenue in Asia was reported as sluggish
and flash price declines led to the decline in flash revenue.
Meanwhile, Fujitsu continues
with the facilitization of its Mie Prefecture
wafer fabrication facility. That facility is on schedule to produce integrated circuits with 90 nm and 65 nm feature lengths
on 300 mm wafers. The company also has revised its capital expenditures for its fiscal year downward to 50 billion yen from
55 billion yen. This however is still a 66.1 percent gain from last years 30.1 billion yen spent for semiconductor equipment
JANUARY 26th, 2005
Kilopass Gets Award for Memory With
1.5 Transistor Cell
EDN magazine selected Kilopass Technology’s nonvolatile memory chip technology as a finalist for its
END Innovation Award in the Intellectual Property category. Kilopass offers embedded memory cores, which can be built with
a standard CMOS process and uses only 1.5 transistors per memory bit on average. This has given design engineers a way to
embed large amounts of memory on logic chips without incurring the large costs associated with traditional embedded memory
technology. Kilopass’ embedded memory cells are used to replace on-chip masked ROMS and flash and EEPROM
memory that has in the past been placed off chip.
JANUARY 13th, 2005
M-Systems Sees Higher Revenues
M-Systems Flash Disk
Pioneers expects improvements in revenue for its fourth quarter. The company estimates that its fourth quarter revenue will
be over $110 million. This compares to $87.8 million in revenue the company reported
for its third quarter. Posted Jan 13th, 2005.
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