U.S. memory giant Micron and Japanese DRAM manufacturer Elpida released a joint statement on July 2 detailing Elpida’s addition to the Micron group, as well as announcing Micron’s purchase of Taiwanese maker Powerchip’s (PSC) shares of Rexchip. According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, the acquisition provides Micron with Elpida’s advanced technology and strengths in the mobile memory sector, which will enable the group to secure more mobile device storage orders through the integration of Micron’s NAND flash capabilities with Elpida’s mobile DRAM products. Apple orders in particular are expected to increase, taking away from the Korean makers’ business.
TrendForce indicates, the new Micron group’s market share is approximately 24%, exceeding SK Hynix’s 23.9% and second only to Korean manufacturer Samsung. With the emergence of three major memory manufacturers, the industry should see healthier DRAM chip prices in the future.
In terms of technology migration, Elpida’s 30nm process yield rates for both commodity DRAM and mobile DRAM are gradually maturing, and 25nm technology is currently being tested at the maker’s Hiroshima fab. Rexchip is also expected to begin test production on the 25nm process in the third quarter, good news for the Micron group as the 25nm products can be used in mobile devices beginning in 2013.
Elpida’s mobile DRAM revenue market share reached 14.7% in the first quarter of 2012. Micron is likely to combine its NAND flash and Elpida’s mobile DRAM products in multichip packages (MCP) that can compete with the Korean makers’ offerings, enabling the Micron group to secure more mobile memory orders for the iPhone and iPad, as well as non-Apple products.