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H. Bruce Campbell

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  • Intel: Does The Memory Business Make Sense? [View article]
    Scintillating article as usual for Russ!

    Based upon the Wikipedia material at:,, and, the German company Robert Bosch owns the "Bosch Process" patent which leverages DRIE (Deep Reactive Ion Etching) in a process which can create vertical holes through silicon substrates.

    Does anyone know whether this is the foundation process Micron Technology uses to create TSVs? And does anyone have any further patent landscape information such as new patents associated with fabrication refinements of the process, or additions to the process such as making the vias highly conductive, capping and bumping the holes to facilitate efficient connections between stacked chips, or others?

    I vaguely suspect TSVs weren't already in broad use because sufficiently efficient fabrication wasn't previously possible. Just based upon extrapolation of recent events we're all aware of, Micron and Intel's research and development would seem to have refined the process enough to make it practical in their foundries. If so, presumably they've tried to erect the best patent protection possible for their refinements. But I'm just speculating about all this.

    I assume the patent landscape is critical to Micron and Intel's ability to protect and maximize return from their research and development investments in TSV and HMC. So presumably we'd all like to know how strong their patent positions are in these areas. Does anyone have any tangible information about it?

    I posted the same question under my TSV and HMC article. Forgive my duplication please.
    Jun 15 07:06 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Hybrid Memory Cube: Making Super-Fast Computing A Reality [View article]
    A terrific and very informative article in my view, thanks!

    Forgive me please if this link to my own article is inappropriate - if so I'll try to remove it, or I invite Seeking Alpha to do so, no problem. But for those interested, I contributed an article which provides a simplified description of the physics of the memory wall, why it's been such a frustrating speed barrier, how the HMC finally overcomes most of it, and the long term semiconductor implications beyond memory applications. It's here:

    It's an imperfect composition to be sure - some sections probably need to be rewritten or simply deleted as they're too far removed from investor interest to be a good use of the reader's time. And it's not as detail rich where it counts or as engaging as this article. But its perspective is a bit different, and it might help in understanding the underlying physics which make both TSV (Through Silicon Via) and the HMC such dramatic and important advancements.

    My sense is that most people don't grasp the gravity of this technology yet. In my estimation it will later be popularly viewed as a cornerstone technology which profoundly changed cyber and IT technology forever. And ultimately almost all semiconductor technology as well.

    Just my personal sense of it... Long Micron.
    May 10 06:00 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Micron, Intel, Apple: A Tale Of 3 Companies [View article]
    Just speculating, maybe maneuvering for more economical retirement of portions of the remaining convertible debt's woven into the report in some measure.
    Apr 3 11:30 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Intel: Google Is Not A Threat [View article]
    I suspect English isn't Vivek's native language. Mastering a second language is really tough of course - it's a long and daunting process, especially if begun in middle or late adulthood. It's wise to allow generous margin - mastering English is nothing like easy.

    (And even native English speakers are frequently guilty of truly hideous grammar and word misuse...)
    Dec 15 07:40 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Micron: Stock Is Starting To Rally Again - Time To Join The Bandwagon [View article]
    Micron's Automata Processor announcement this morning struck me completely by surprise. I had no prior awareness of this work. For me personally, it's far too early for me to try to gauge its significance. But on first glance it sure looks like it could be very exciting.

    My instinct about future computing is that it will prove to be a substantially more memory centric hardware process than in the past. That is, exceptionally efficient access to massive volumes of exceptionally well organized data will tend to define future computing and processing, particularly in key fields such as very deep simulation, such as simulation of entire living systems (such as human beings) at atomic and DNA mechanics level resolution for life sciences, and similarly exceptionally high resolution simulation efforts in physics, mathematics, and many other disciplines. And in Artificial Intelligence, which I believe will be planet defining earlier than most expect.

    The Automata Processor seems, on initial view, to target that future directly and impressively. It'll be very interesting to see how this evolves - whether it's as dramatic as the first excitement in my bones suggests.

    I don't discount the possibility of a black swan or two in Micron's future as many of you know. But as always I'm thrilled to see that Micron's doing superb technical work, and believe that will overwhelmingly define its very successful (and lucrative) future, a few warts notwithstanding.

    Intensively long Micron common and calls.
    Nov 18 06:48 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is A Takover In The Cards For Micron? [View article]
    Mine seems to be a very unpopular view, but from these shores my sense is that Micron's hands are indeed tied for something akin to the reasons you alluded. And the nature of the problem is such that I no longer feel at liberty to be fully transparent here myself.

    Micron might be disinterested in high quality and transparent investor relations as a simple matter of corporate culture. But matters on these shores are such that, in my estimation, whether they wish to be coy or not, currently they must. Even if other matters pressure them to be more open.

    Some walls are much, much taller on one side than on the other. These Roman characters I'm typing are perfectly familiar to all on these shores. The opposite side of the wall is far, far higher. In my personal opinion it would be wise for everyone here to remember that, and its implications, very clearly.

    Intensely long Micron common and calls.
    Nov 9 10:33 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Micron Technology - Wells Fargo Is Cautious, And I Must Agree [View article]
    More detailed information about the complaint follows, but allow me to set a personal stage a bit first. I'm only modestly Nihongo functional - I'm not fluent. And I can't read Kanji, so as a practical matter I'm generally illiterate in this country. However, I have a rich social life here, including three very close English fluent Nihon-jin friends (and then some), and thus have access to skilled translation assistance.

    Tapping that resource, I've reviewed the legal matter involving the former Elpida shareholders in moderate detail. I'll continue to study the matter as time permits. Bear in mind that translation is never perfect. Also understand that the first link provided by Yamoto-san above is simply a review of 'rumors' (or summaries of informal conversations, perhaps mostly posted on the web) about the matter. The second link covering the case news, the Reuters article, is more credible, though less expansive. Keeping that in mind:

    The legal complaint, though now involving only 7 former shareholders and just $1.2 M equivalent (roughly), appears to be a genuinely serious matter. And while only 7 shareholders are named in the complaint, many more former shareholders are at least watching in the background. I can't judge whether they could join the formal suit at a later time, or file a separate one, or have already done so, but that wouldn't shock me. My wild guess is that the action of the 7 is meant to test the legal waters for the entire group. But that's strictly a guess.

    Their legal complaint alleges deceit which led them to believe that their Elpida stock would retain some reasonable value for at least a month, when in fact Elpida's president, Sakamoto-san, was probably aware that bankruptcy was imminent.

    Specifically they allege that Elpida advised shareholders on 23 Feb 2012 that an extraordinary shareholder's meeting would be held on 28 March 2012 to consider changes to the corporation's articles of association in order to provide a revised financial structure which would allow Elpida to continue operations.

    But then bankruptcy was abruptly announced just four days later, on 27 Feb 2012, presumably causing Elpida's share price to almost instantly plummet. While not explicitly clear from the Reuters article, an argument that Sakamoto-san was aware that the bankruptcy was imminent even as the advisory that an extraordinary shareholders' meeting would be held on 28 March 2012 was made might be part of the complaint (I can only speculate about that). If so, intentional deceit is likely alleged to have led to shareholder's losses.

    The following is not mentioned in the Reuters article, but rather the 'rumors' article, and thus may not be elements in the current formal court action:

    Elpida's former shareholders also believe that Hynix and Samsung were improperly denied access to sufficient information to bid competitively for Elpida. Had they bid competitively, Elpida stock shares might have retained much more value. In addition, evidently at least some former shareholders believe that Sakamoto-san didn't want Hynix or Samsung to bid seriously, because they believe Micron had already assured Sakamoto-san that if Micron acquired Elpida, Sakamoto-san's job at Elpida would remain secure. The implication is that no such assurance seemed likely from Hynix or Samsung, and thus Sakamoto-san was motivated for Micron to win the acquisition, and might have improperly withheld critical information Hynix and Samsung needed to construct a serious bid.

    However, so far as I know neither Hynix nor Samsung have any dog in this fight. So perhaps they feel that no impropriety took place, and thus no legal action is warranted. If so, that might imply that the shareholder's case for an improper bidding process is weak. The fact that the issue wasn't raised or didn't gain traction for bondholders would seem to support that view.

    However, the legal complaint described in the Reuters article is a different matter - it doesn't seem to involve Hynix nor Samsung in any significant way. That is, so far as I can tell that formal complaint doesn't allege wrongdoing in the bidding process.

    But it's not clear to me whether Elpida bondholders might have reason to argue similarly - if they were made privy to the information which allegedly mislead Elpida stockholders, perhaps they could argue that deceit resulted in personal mismanagement of their bond holdings at a critical time, resulting in otherwise avoidable financial losses. So far as I know no such arguments were aired by bondholders, which is a bit odd, and might cast some doubt on the basis of the shareholder's complaint.

    But other than that side question, to me it seems possible that the actual legal complaint might have some merit. Presumably it all hinges upon whether Sakamoto-san did in fact knowingly deceive. The question of whether a Micron official assured Sakamoto-san that his job would be secure if Micron won the acquisition might be at issue too.

    Personally, I suspect there is at least a bit of a problem for Micron here, and vaguely suspect it might be influencing Micron's reporting style. At this time I'm in no position to judge whether it might snowball into a larger problem.

    While the sense of offense appears to center primarily on Sakamoto-san, perhaps some former Elpida shareholders consider Micron's assurance to Sakamoto-san that his job would remain secure if Micron acquired Elpida as serious misconduct, irrespective of how long Sakamoto-san retained his position. Currently I can't judge how many might feel that way, nor the level of their sense of offense, nor how the relevant legal codes interpret the matter.

    Please allow me to offer some personal interpretations as well:

    I believe it highly unlikely that any Elpida worker would find the Daimler Chrysler history the least bit relevant, particularly given the exceptionally high value and productivity of the superbly talented and disciplined Elpida work force.

    And in my estimation Micron didn't fire any of them for exactly that reason - they're great workers - they've very well earned their job security with superb performance. And I think they're aware of this. So in my estimation their perception is that no magnanimous gesture was involved (and I suspect they're quite right about that).

    And aside from concern for their countrymen, the job retention issue's wholly irrelevant to former Elpida shareholders. My sense is that they're highly focused upon perceptions of evidence of wrongdoing associated with the Micron acquisition, particularly as they perceive that it may have materially hurt them.

    In my view, from the Nippon perspective this is a moment of judgment of Micron (and some Nihon-jin too). If they believe it possible that Micron improperly assured Sakamoto-san that his job would be secure if Micron won Elpida, or bidding misconduct occurred, and that evidence later reasonably proves one or both occurred, and humble acknowledgement, apologies, and amends don't then flow from Micron, at best Nihon-jin will spiritually distance themselves from Micron, and Elpida's performance will suffer measurably.

    In this culture, if misconduct is shown to be clear, the offender is expected to apologize (Shazai) genuinely from the heart, and genuinely humbly. My sense is that it's a significantly more strict culturally enforced requirement than in America. I don't know whether Sakamoto-san engaged in misconduct of course, nor, if he did, whether he would resist shazai.

    But I do think that it's a mistake to assume that this matter's not significant...

    I could only speculate very wildly about any possible snowballing of trouble, so I'll leave that issue untouched for now. But I will reiterate that in my view Micron would be wise to get in front of this issue and try to resolve it in a strictly honest and very magnanimous manner. I doubt they fear doing so might open a horrific Pandora's box with Hynix or Samsung - if they wanted to throw a wrench into Micron's acquisition of Elpida, I suspect they'd have already done so. I also doubt the former bondholders are a concern - they had their day in court. (However, perhaps those perceptions should be debated.)

    To me, Elpida shareholders might have a valid complaint. And in my view, if Micron executives have reason to believe they're right, they should do the right thing generously and promptly. And, where appropriate, in the shazai manner.

    Oshaberi sumimasen.

    Intensely long Micron common and calls.
    Oct 17 07:24 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Micron Technology - Wells Fargo Is Cautious, And I Must Agree [View article]
    I'm currently in Miyazaki, and reviewed the later Reuters article. Only seven former shareholders are involved, and they're only requesting simple monetary compensation for their Elpida share value losses. No punitive requests appear to be involved. The total involved for all seven is only about $1.2 M - it's peanuts. And of course there's no assurance the suit will gain any traction. And the article itself is dated 13 July 2013, so it's modestly old news.

    I don't yet have much sense whether this could spark further action, such as for example formation of a coalition of a large number of former Elpida shareholders which might have enough power in numbers to make the matter much more serious. My instinct is that's unlikely, in small measure because Nippon (Japan) isn't as litigious as other countries, but in larger measure because the issue is getting a bit old, so I suspect most shareholders are no longer inclined to complicate their lives with a legal battle in spite of some justifiable bitterness (I'd be upset if I were in their position too).

    But I suspect Micron management wishes to minimize risk in the matter, and that it's awkward and unnecessarily obfuscated annual report was partly intentional. My guess is that they're perfectly aware of the bitterness of the former Elpida shareholders and creditors, and prefer to be as coy as they can about Micron's superb current position.

    If that's about right (a very big if), frankly I think they're missing an opportunity in this matter. In my view they'd be wise to consider a magnanimous voluntary offer to heal wounds - a goodwill offer to ease strain to the community. I'd recommend a rather generous offer. That might offend current Micron shareholders a bit short term, but in my view everyone would materially benefit in time, and would perceive that reasonably promptly.

    No offense please, but in my strictly personal opinion Nihon-jin (Japanese people) care for their own more than is common in America. If that element's attended to wisely, Micron could get on with its future transparently and more profitably.

    Hiroshima is a very, very nice place, with very, very nice people. They and almost all Nihon-jin make wonderful friends. Nurturing their friendship wisely is very smart business. It might need to be done in an unusual manner in this case, but provincial measures are in my view irrelevant - think in community terms, heal injured hearts, make trusted friends, then, together, build a superb company and earn lots of money. For all involved...

    Intensely long Micron common and calls.
    Oct 15 09:00 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Micron: The Story Isn't Tech ... [View article]
    Having secured Elpida, and likely already possessing impressive momentum for graceful and efficient corporate integration, hopefully Micron's executives will continue to explore for the next big opportunity, whether technical or business in nature. One mustn't sit on success of course...

    One already well under way is of course TSV and HMC, which in my novice estimation are very roughly as big a deal technically as the Elpida acquisition is strategically. So this statement in Steve Shen's article piqued my attention:

    "Micron's current plan is to use Elpida's expertise in DRAM development and to establish a critical DRAM research department within the Hiroshima plant."

    I suspect Micron and Intel have already extensively discussed and agreed to a general plan for planting TSV and HMC technology in the Hiroshima facility, and that it's already begun, or will soon. So perhaps by 2015 regular production of magically swift and energy efficient HMCs and will flow from Hiroshima. Or HMGCs (Hybrid Memory & GPU Cubes). Or SCs (System Cubes).

    (With TSV based chips for the other functional blocks coming from Intel, then wed into cubes in Hiroshima, or the reverse, with TSV based DRAM chips shipped from Hiroshima to Intel to be wed with other functional blocks into cubes in America.)

    Then perhaps a lot of those cubes will flow to Cupertino.

    Because: Is it just me, or do others share the feeling that tablet popularity will wane somewhat, whereas laptops, ever more compact, elegant, and efficient, sporting SSD only storage and HMC and Haswell lubricated lightning speed, superb power, and ultra stingy energy consumption, will rise in popularity. Because they'll have it all - they'll address all needs at very high performance levels, yet be nearly the same size and mass as tablets. When you want to accomplish serious work, you need a laptop. And when a laptop is only scarcely larger than a tablet, it'll dominate.

    I assume most of you prefer the other OS and thus hardware option, but as I compose this on my MacBook Pro, I suspect Apple's taking another crack at a big hit new laptop product, and that it's been in development for some time, separate from their normal laptop model evolution. Microsoft seems to think all cyber systems will become touch screen centric. I see no evidence Apple views the future that way - the Mac OS and iOS remain separate creatures. My sense is that Apple's apparent view of that aspect of the future is more realistic, and that laptops will remain mainstream.

    Whether Apple continues to lead in these fields or not, I suspect Intel and Micron view TSV as the foundation of the future, and it's natural to speculate that Hiroshima will play a key role in it. Offhand it seems like there's no better place for it, at least insofar as DRAM is concerned, and maybe cube assembly as well. Particularly if the Yen continues to decline, as seems very likely.

    To stretch the speculation further, one could imagine that Apple, in coy partnership with Intel and Micron, is currently developing a TSV based ultra high performance laptop whose size is only scarcely larger than its display, sporting at the very least HMC, or maybe entirely new functional combination cubes (such as an HMGC), or an SC. The SSD NAND will come from Micron Singapore. The TSV based DRAM or maybe complete cubes will come from Micron Hiroshima.

    If so, others will follow Apple with their own laptop competition. They could equip them with SSD NAND from Micron competitors. But for a time at least, there'd be only one source for TSV based DRAM. (And, to the joy of most of us, only one source for processor related cubes.) Perhaps for a considerable time...

    All just speculation of course. But I'm fond of my Micron common. And I'm very fond of my January 2014 Micron call holdings. And perhaps even more fond of my January 2015 Micron call holdings. And when even more distant calls appear, I'll update my shopping list.

    Because in my estimation Elpida, great as it is, isn't the only big Micron story. The TSV sequel might prove to be at least as exciting.

    And Hiroshima is a very nice place. There is a certain deep beauty to this...
    Aug 2 05:37 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Intel: OK, Where Are The Apple 'A' Chips Really Going? [View article]
    Hi Russ,

    No formality necessary for me - Bruce please. And "That was very well done." from Russ Fischer is a very highly prized trophy on my wall, thank you!

    A wall built in substantial measure by funds your experience, insight, exploratory heart, tireless energy, and community team spirit made possible. Again, thank you!

    The profits are very helpful of course. But ultimately the trophy holds the greatest meaning for me.

    Given the unique position Intel and Micron forged together for leveraging this important new technology, and its inherent and very substantial business implications, perhaps Seeking Alpha would approve such an article - maybe they'd perceive that it's intrinsically investment relevant. They certainly should. I'm sure the community here would love to hear from you about it. And me too of course!
    Jul 17 11:26 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Intel Could Be Hiding Something Huge [View article]
    I disagree with a couple of points in this specific discussion branch. My sense is that the memory wall is a significant performance bottleneck for even relatively pedestrian systems such as tablets and laptops for example.

    However, the overall line of thinking in the discussion makes sense to me. Specifically I thematically agree with Fidgewinkle that "They probably want to take some of the ever increasing cache off of the CPU die to better manage yield.", although I don't necessarily view it as just a yield centric issue.

    Regarding HMC and processor cache design, presumably there are lots of superb analysis of cost / benefit tradeoffs for on chip cache size for each significant type of processor (such as those for phones, tablets, laptops, desk tops, and servers) when the overall product utilizes traditional RAM. It seems to me that HMC slants all those guidelines toward smaller cache sizes, since HMC RAM is much less time distant from the SOC than traditional RAM - less RAM interaction latency suggests a reduced cache size for optimum cost / benefit tradeoffs.

    In the case of modest performance products such as phones, where the HMC is likely to be exceptionally close to the SOC anyway, I'd think the need for on chip cache would be minimal, allowing dedication of much more actual SOC silicon real estate for other functions, or to simply reduce chip size and thus cost. Perhaps rather dramatically so. (But I don't know how size and speed critical the SOC's GPU's memory needs are.)

    Just guessing extremely roughly, maybe there'd be about 2 cm separating the SOC and the HMC in a phone. And while normally I'd assume a practical signal propagation speed of about 17 cm / nS, in the case of a close proximity HMC maybe just half that, about 8 cm / nS, due to unusually high predominance of irregular transmission impedances, since a high proportion of the short distance involved might be mechanically complex and irregular.

    But still, that suggests that HMC is only about 500 pS distant round trip. But add delays for the HMC system itself to manage data flow. But we're still in the very rough neighborhood of just one clock cycle for a 1 GHz processor. And maybe only half that, because the HMC / SOC separation distance might be only 1 cm or even less, and maybe the signal paths can be made relatively clean and thus propagation speed closer to 17 cm / nS.

    So with such quick access to HMC RAM, I wonder whether the cost / benefit of on chip cache falls dramatically to a very modest cache size. Thus freeing a lot of silicon real estate for other functions, or to reduce chip size, and thus fabrication cost.

    I don't know how much real estate Haswell allocates to shared cache, but I'll wild guess 15%. Maybe competitive processors allocate about the same amount.

    If you could eliminate or reallocate most of that real estate yet suffer no overall system performance degradation (or perhaps gain overall performance, including power conservation), and if ARM, Qualcom, et. al. couldn't do that, I'd think you'd simply have a superior product, and capture a lot of extra market share. Good is never good enough after all - everyone wants the best. And ARM, Qualcom, et. al. might find themselves offering only second best, possibly in all three categories - effective speed, power consumption, and fabrication cost. And possibly by significant margins.

    Intel's not a member of the HMC consortium. Whether Micron serves as their proxy might just be a question of semantics. I simply view Intel as disinterested in being captive to the consortium's specs. From their perspective it makes far more competitive sense to, in tight partnership with Micron, and sans any HMC v1.0 specification constraints, develop custom HMC / SOC products for all categories of products, then sell those to OEMs at great competitive advantage compared to ARM, Qualcom, et. al. options.

    I'm a bit suspicious that competitors, perhaps already well behind Intel in incorporating HMC logistics into their processor designs, will as a practical matter be forced to honor the HMC consortium's standard because they won't be able to fund custom HMC design. They don't have anything even remotely like an Intel / Micron partnership, and aren't likely to have anything similar for the foreseeable future.

    If all that's very roughly correct, it implies some very happy days ahead for Intel investors.

    However, I'm just speculating as a general circuit design EE - I don't really know enough about the esoteric details of processor design to feel terribly confident in my appraisal. But we do all know what the speed of light is - there are some immutable facts here. And we also know that Micron and Intel have a very close and effective relationship, and that Intel isn't a member of the HMC consortium.

    And we know that ARM, Qualcom et. al. don't have a Micron like buddy. To me, with HMC nearing implementation (in my estimation), that's huge.

    I still have lots of questions. Technically, I don't know how critical the SOC's GPU's timing to memory is, and thus whether HMC can reasonably meet its needs. That could limit how much cache could reasonably be eliminated.

    And I don't know what the devil Apple, also very conspicuously absent from the HMC consortium, is thinking or doing. But Apple does owe Intel a favor, and is understandably very secretive. So it's only natural to wonder whether Apple and Intel are close but extremely coy development partners on an important project. The TSMC / Apple relationship notwithstanding...
    Jul 11 07:35 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Google Claims To Have Defeated Vringo Search Patents [View article]
    We all want to travel faster than the speed of light so we can engage in quick and exciting star hopping, but some things eclipse all mortal genius, and even HAL-9000 computers. Google could focus the entire weight of its resources forever on an ambition to break the speed of light barrier, but they would fail - Mother Nature will simply not allow it, period.

    The Lang patent isn't in the same league as a Natural Law of course, but drawing from both my indirect technical experience and the course of events in the Vringo vs. Google saga, my vague sense is that it's pretty bloody solid. My instinct is that it's substantially unlikely Google developed a reliably effective and non-infringing work-around. That's just my personal judgment of course.

    But it suggests this example conjecture: Google doesn't know any more about what Vringo and Microsoft are discussing behind closed doors than we do. Microsoft is a somewhat impassioned and unpredictable wild card which isn't particularly fond of Google. Perhaps one motivation for revealing news of a work-around is to cast doubt in Microsoft's mind about the ultimate value of the Lang patent. Microsoft has made some relatively recent acquisition blunders, so Google might seek to make them fret over the possibility of committing another such mistake. I don't mean to suggest that I believe Microsoft is likely to acquire Vringo or some of its assets. I'm just suggesting that Google might be concerned about the possibility enough to engage in a muddy the water class countermeasure. Just conjecture of course...

    The other advantage is that of delay and legal battlefield obfuscation, which seem favorite Google tactics in their apparent quest to ultimately defeat all NPE patent owners, irrespective of Google's willful infringement of patent owner's property, which is a fundamental assault on perfectly legitimate property rights. Google's morals and legal tactics strike me as improper and borne of arrogance. My hope is that they ultimately pay a price which is sufficient to compel them to reconsider their behavior.

    Separately, I don't understand why Bartholomew Furrow's current location should significantly delay this case. He's not on Mars or negotiating nuclear disarmament terms with North Korea for crying out loud. Why not simply fly him back to America for deposition or other testimony, then fly him back afterward so he can resume his activities? I presume it's not that simple for some reason. But it's a mystery to me...

    Patience, mutual respect, and civility please. Long Vringo.
    Apr 21 11:21 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Micron: The Best Is Yet To Come [View article]
    Hi William. Thanks for your terrific article and very kind words.

    I can only speculate wildly about timing logistics related to TSV centric product developments. To wit: My guess is that TSV fabrication technology challenges aren't a significant element in the HMC introduction delay we're observing - I suspect the larger element is, as you reflected, 'competitive reasons'.

    Intel and Micron seem to nurture their highly constructive partnership very respectfully, so in my view there's a pretty good chance the HMC's being artificially held back in order to best position both firms for the far more significant SC and Ball drama to come. While I do think all other fabricators are perfectly well aware of the significance of the SC and Ball, and actively trying to manage the implications, I nonetheless believe it unwise for Intel and Micron to send the HMC town crier out to openly validate the matter, putting all competitors on open notice, and thus invigorating their corporate cultures. It's best to be coy, even when the elephant's obviously wandering about the room, until that elephant's completely ready to burst through the room's walls in full powerful stride, pounding the earth thunderously and braying with a deafening voice nobody can ignore no matter how much denial's in their hearts.

    My guess is that the HMC's production ready and could make some money now. But it's peanuts compared to what's at stake with clever management of SC and Ball introduction timing. If I were Intel, I'd be as coy as practical until a broad set of commodity level SC and Ball products are in full production and thus (in this case) ready to be announced. This is a dramatic technology inflection point. And wisdom dictates that it be managed in as coy a manner possible until the curtains for the gala premier event are drawn open with a flourish.

    The HMC, even if production fabrication's technically fully ready, can wait...

    And I suspect Micron fully respects this...

    However, at some beans were spilled in the form of an HMC enhancement to Knights Landing. This seems contrary to my 'be coy as long as possible' thesis. So maybe my thesis is just plain wrong, or needs refinement (maybe Intel seeks to publicly imply TSVs will be centric to only extreme performance systems for example, whereas in fact they're working day and night to prepare commodity SCs and Balls for abrupt introduction as my thesis suggests).

    In any case: Intensely long Micron common and calls. Heavily long Intel calls, and will continue to add on dips. Because I suspect both firms will earn a lot more money starting within very roughly two years.

    But everyone must think for themselves and steer their own ships of course...
    Jun 28 05:09 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Intel: Something Very Big Is Going On [View article]
    It's a compelling concept, thank Russ!

    If Intel calculated that they or, eventually, Samsung could manufacture storage at near enough to hard drive manufacturing costs to make whatever cost difference would exist an insufficient savings to compensate for the many dramatic performance advantages of SSDs, then they were faced with a striking new paradigm: Hard drives would essentially cease to be viable in almost all new products.

    If that was the case, Intel knew someone would capture the new paradigm storage business at a relatively near term transition time. It seems safe to say Intel would prefer that they be the winning firm. And presumably they'd like to win the fast growing and very lucrative storage business dramatically, so that they could dominate it for the foreseeable future.

    And in my estimation TSV will play a very important role in this too.

    Just speculating very wildly, it strikes me as a bit unlikely that the US government would stand in Intel's way. High technology treasures are national treasures with national security implications. If the US government views the matter as a choice between Intel and a foreign firm, in my estimation they'll just wave Intel through the turnstiles.

    Intensely long Micron common and calls, and modestly long Intel calls.
    Nov 15 04:50 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Intel/Micron: How IC Packaging Will Drive Them Together [View article]
    Russ: What a superb article! Thanks so much!

    GoRavens: Agreed. In my view TSV ultimately and inevitably delivers profound technical advantages over a very broad range. And thus competitive pressures driving TSV advances, particularly with searing hot fire in their belly Samsung looming over the landscape, are enormous.

    The captains of the primary firms involved can't afford to be timid in planning for a TSV technology driven future. Otherwise Samsung will have them for lunch.

    Though perhaps an initially very difficult business for Apple to try to manage, maybe they feel compelled to consider acquiring Micron very seriously anyway. I doubt Apple wants to live with constant critical component supply logistics nightmares forever. Given their position, they might have to fab their own critical semiconductors to remain genuinely competitive long term.

    In my minority view, at this time the Nippon (Japan) related socio-political realities of Micron's Elpida acquisition are such that Micron must try to be as coy as possible about their earnings for at least the next few months. This creates a fleeting opportunity for either Intel or Apple. So in my view both firms might feel compelled to act as quickly as they reasonably can - to beat the other to the prize, and to acquire it while the appearance of its true value is being intentionally held to an artificially low level.

    Intensely long Micron common and calls.
    Nov 7 08:42 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment