Micron Focuses On The Future, But Its Stock Is Shackled To The Present

Micron Technology provided its view of the memory market, technology trends and company strategy at an analyst conference where executives stressed the company’s R&D investments and product roadmaps designed to exploit changing customer requirements and new memory applications. The company has a thorough understanding of the memory business, a compelling vision and strong product roadmap, however its near-term results remain shackled to a secularly declining PC market and cut-throat flash pricing.

While the company painted a rosy picture of future prospects, investors are more concerned with the here and now where ASPs (average selling price) are falling and the largest market for DRAM, PCs, is “challenging”. Micron’s lackluster Q3 financial results, what one Forbes contributor described as “dismal”, triggered a 30% decline in the company’s stock in the intervening weeks.

Read the full post where I analyze Micron’s strategy, the business drivers behind it and specific product directions, including:

  • DRAM customers demanding high performance memory: Micron’s answer is to ramp its next-generation 20nm fabrication process and migrate to faster, more efficient DDR4 products.
  • NAND buyers in both the mobile and data center markets can’t get enough capacity: Here, Micron has partnered with Intel on a 3D NAND process that DeBoer says it can scale for the next decade and enable 10TB and up SSDs.
  • New types of memory products: The recently announced 3D XPoint memory, another joint development with Intel, promised the speed and durability of DRAM with the density and nonvolatility of NAND. At IDF, Intel demonstrated a 3D XPoint PCIe SSD that provides 5-times the I/O throughput of its high-end NAND SSD. Micron has also developed the hybrid memory cube, a multichip package combining a stack of traditional DRAM chips with a unique logic layer that can provide 15-times the I/O bandwidth of a standard DDR3 module while using 70% less power.

Originally published at www.forbes.com on August 18, 2015.

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