DRAM, blam! From 40 firms to just 3...the same will happen to ARM
DRAM, blam! From 40 firms to just 3...
Bedard sketched out the history of the DRAM and flash manufacturing business, saying that the DRAM business had seen many players who had become consolidated to just three: Hynix, Micron and Samsung.
"When I first started at Micron, there were about 40 to 50 DRAM companies in the space," said Bedard. "And we spent most of the '80s with the Japanese deciding they wanted to own the DRAM space which they went from 10 per cent market share to about 90 per cent, [and] took all of the US companies out except for two, us and Texas Instruments.
"We spent most of the '90s with the Koreans deciding they wanted to go to gain market share in the DRAM space. So they went from virtually non-existent in the '80s to about 65 per cent of market share in the '90s, and we wiped out all the Japanese except for one [Elpida]. And we wiped out the last remaining US-based DRAM company [Texas Instruments], so there were two of us. We [the USA] still had one.
"During that period of time, the Europeans consolidated down to one company as well: Qimonda. So we were left with Elpida Group, a Qimonda Group, Micron in the US and two Koreans. We got into this last decade [and] we saw the Taiwanese decide they wanted to be in the DRAM business. We had two fairly weak players financially - Elpida and Qimonda - and they were willing to trade out their technology that they have been developing to allow the Taiwanese to come into the space.
"[The] Taiwanese over about a six-year period spent $20bn. Today, they’re virtually all gone or we control them. They still have $14bn, which is all getting written off. So all this 30 years has been some mechanism of consolidation to where today. We’re staring in the face of three remaining DRAM companies: us, Samsung and Hynix."
Micron is in the process of buying Elpida.
Wafer saw in Micron semiconductor fabrication plant
Bedard said the DRAM production business had stabilised and cyclical over-production pha