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After a rough fourth quarter, NAND manufacturers hoped to get a break and instead they got slammed by more bad news, this time from Apple

Apple Inc. last year spent $1.2B USD on NAND flash memory for its consumer electronics devices.  Most of Apple's wildly popular iPod family sports the memory -- the iPod Shuffle, the iPod Nano, and the iPod Touches all use it for storage.  The iPhone also uses NAND, further increasing Apple's already sizable NAND appetite.  Thus Apple's decision hold a significant sway on NAND's fate.

Perhaps predicting slow iPod/iPhone growth, Apple dramatically scaled back its NAND predictions for 2008, sending NAND manufacturers into a panic.  The news, which also may signal bad news for Apple, may be a reflection of the sagging of the U.S. economy, burdened by the U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis, which has led many analysts to predict a rather dire consumer market for the year.  Apple continues to cut prices in hopes of keeping sales alive, but the outlook is still far from rosy.

iSuppli announced the shifting estimate from Apple on Wednesday, stating, "Apple Inc. has slashed its 2008 NAND order forecast significantly and has informed suppliers that its demand growth will slow in 2008 compared to 2007."

Before iSuppli had predicted a 32% increase in NAND orders for 2008 from Apple.  The change caused iSuppli to drop its estimate for global NAND growth from 27 percent to "single digit" percentage growth from last year's $13.9B USD market.  According to iSuppli in Q1 '08 NAND manufacturers will also invest a 20 percent increase in capital spending, which will increase capacity and lower prices for the consumer, but add further to the suppliers financial woes. 

The year of 2007 held mixed results for NAND suppliers, but still may be looked back fondly upon in comparison to 2008.  In 2007 NAND overall saw 12.5 percent growth.  However in Q3 and Q4 of 2007, six of the top eight NAND producers saw sequential declines in revenue.  Only Micron and Intel escaped this trend.  Samsung and Toshiba, who hold the number one and two spots respectively, were among the losers, but remain on top of the struggling market.

Some top tier NAND suppliers vested in DRAM production as well will get doubly hit, as DRAM is supposed to have an extremely poor year as well, experiencing poor growth of only 4 percent.  While single digit growth may seem acceptable to some, the constant demands for increased capacity at lower prices means that single digit growth typically equates to significant revenue losses.


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RE: Rotten ecomomy?
By BansheeX on 2/21/2008 4:10:37 PM , Rating: 3
Ah, but you're forgetting how government overregulation and bad economic policy gives the companies the incentive to go overseas in the first place. The blame cannot be placed squarely on them.


RE: Rotten ecomomy?
By teldar on 2/21/2008 4:20:35 PM , Rating: 2
He's also forgetting how the american unions priced themselves out of existence by demanding wages far above the quality of the work they produced. Look at the automotive industry. GM lost $39B in one quarter. I don't care if some of it was accounting magic. If a company can show a $39B loss, they're hemorrhaging cash, plain and simple. What was the cause? Substandard quality and excessive liability.

T


RE: Rotten ecomomy?
By FITCamaro on 2/22/2008 10:26:26 AM , Rating: 2
Yes there were reasons, but still, they didn't look at the bigger picture.

And as for the guys comment on unions, yes some unions are a huge problem but not all industries have them. And not all unions are bad. The UAW definitely killed automotive manufacturing in America though. Many UAW workers earn more than level 2 and 3 engineers with nothing more than a high school diploma and they wonder why the companies want to ship the jobs overseas or cut their pay. Unskilled labor in a factory shouldn't pay $50,000 a year much less the $75,000+ some are making.


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