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AMD: flash memory sales are not that bad

Forbes journalists have recently interviewed AMD executive director, Hector Ruiz. He informed that the fab in Austin, TX is working at full capacity, making flash memory chips for mobile handsets. While the rest of the semiconductor industry suffers a downturn, the demand for specific solutions remains high.

AMD is in unusual situation today. Early this year Intel, the closest rival, raised flash memory chips prices by 20%, believing the demand would grow. As a result customers turned to AMD, loading the Austin fab completely.

On the other hand, this allowed AMD to recover unsuccessfil CPU sales expenditures. In Q1 2003 this value was $715 million, 21% less than a year ago.

Top 10 flash memory suppliers Flash memory sales of 2002, $m Market value, $m
Intel 2,100 130,680
Samsung 1,000 40,530
Advanced Micro Devices 700 2,582
Toshiba 700 9,321
Sharp 700 12,596
STMicroelectronics 600 19,711
Fujitsu Limited 500 6,319
Mitsubishi 400 10,002
SandDisk 300 2,004
Hitachi Limited 300 13,446
Atmel / 1,199
Lexar Media / 401
Macronix International / 591
NEC / 6,128
Silicon Storage Technology / 339

Just to remind: AMD and Intel produce NOR-flash (along with Silicon Storage Technology, Atmel).

For other kind of flash chips the picture is not that clear. For example, NAND, used in cameras, audio player, PDAs, etc. According to IDC, if digital cameras sales are high, NAND chip sales will make 33.5 million units worldwide. This memory is made by Samsung, Toshiba, SanDisk and Hitachi as well as the new players like STMicroelectronics and Hynix Semiconductor.

And what about flash cards? According to Semico, these sales might grow up to $3.3 billion this year, with $12 billion coming in 2006. According to IDC, now an average flash card costs 45 cents per megabyte, and this is going to drop down to 10 cents in 2006.

Source: Forbes

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