Intel Could Become Micron Technology’s Biggest Competitor
Summary @Intel has introduced several #3DXPoint products but so far @Micron Technology is missing in action. While Intel’s chips are currently geared for PCs, and Micron’s presumably on servers, Intel’s aggressive roadmap means we could see the two companies in direct competition in future products. The vacuum created by Micron’s “no show” in the 3D Point for servers could be filled by Intel. In DRAM and NAND in the recent quarter, Micron has gained on competitors in DRAM shipments and operating profit margins. IM Flash Technologies, LLC (IMFT) was formed between Intel (INTC) and Micron Technology (MU) in 2005 as a joint venture for NAND flash manufacturing, and product development started with 72nm planar NAND. The JV also developed a new 3D XPoint memory technology in 2015. I discussed in a January 11, 2018, Seeking Alpha article entitled “Intel’s Split Is Really Bad News For Micron Technology,” that, from an Intel press release: “The companies have agreed to complete development of their third-generation of 3D NAND technology, which will be delivered toward the end of this year and extending into early 2019. Beyond that technology node, both companies will develop 3D NAND independently in order to better optimize the technology and products for their individual business needs.” I reported in the article that according to an article in DigiTimes: “Intel is expected to enhance its presence in China’s NAND flash market, with plans to ramp up the capacity of its 12-inch fab in Dalian and possibly to license its technology to Tsinghua Unigroup for production of 3D NAND flash chips after winding up its cooperative partnership with Micron in the field in one year, according to industry sources.” The point of my article was that if this happens, it will change the dynamics of the entire NAND market and would be detrimental to MU. Of course this analysis was met with disdain from numerous MU longs, but one month later I still have not found one printed comment from INTC or MU management refuting my comments. But that’s not the point of this article, which addresses the competition in the JV’s 3D Xpoint technology.