Micron moves towards TLC and 3D NAND

Micron had revenue of $3.98 billion and net income of $806 million for the three months to the end of May. It expects $4 billion to $4.2 billion revenues in the current quarter.

Gross margin was 34% and free cash flow was $880 million based on operating cash flow of $1.46 billion less capex of $576 million

Although Micron says that demand is growing for all its products, it is not planning to build new fabs.

“Driven by a slowing rate of technology migration, supply bit growth trends have stabilised at a level below historical average,” says CEO Mark Durcan, “there appear to be only limited additions of new wafer capacity on the horizon

In the case of NAND, there is not much point building fabs for planar NAND when 3D NAND, which requires a different tool-set to planar NAND, is on the way.

Micron is cagey about its introduction of 3D NAND. “We have said that we believe that this is going to be a material impact on the industry in the second half of 2015,” says Durcan.

The likely last generation of planar NAND will be the 16nm generation where Micron has been struggling to get a triple level cell (TLC) memory to market.

“We are aggressively working on our development of our 16-nanometer TLC roadmap in an effort to drive our overall NAND cost competitiveness,” says Micron president Mark Adams, “we expect to see component samples of our 16-nanometer TLC by the end of calendar year with client-based TLC SSD by spring of 2015.”

Micron anticipates its ‘termination benefits’ cost – mainly for the Italian researchers’ job losses – to be in the region of $15 million to $25 million.

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