Samsung (SSNLF.PK) will consider using chips from SK Hynix (HXSCF.PK) for future products, according to one of the company's top execs. The move to an outside chip supplier is a reversal of the company's previous policy, but could help prevent supply disruptions for models of its Galaxy X smartphone.
Though the PC industry's slump is showing few signs of ending, PC DRAM prices continue to trek higher, thanks in large part to production cuts. DRAMeXchange estimates 4GB PC DRAM prices rose 11% in January, and that PC OEMs "are showing a desire to gradually increase inventory levels." Meanwhile, Digitimes reports 4GB prices are expected to rise another 10% following Chinese New Year holidays. Top manufacturers: MU, SSNLF.PK, HXSCF.PK. (previous)
Contract prices for several popular PC DRAM chips and modules surged 8%-11% in 1H January, per DRAMeXchange. Major production cuts appear to be responsible - top manufacturers have been steadily shifting capacity to mobile/server DRAM and NAND flash memory in the face of slumping PC demand. Sources tell occasionally-accurate Digitimes supply constraints will continue lifting prices until early February. (Micron/Nanya)
Rambus (RMBS) "willfully" destroyed documents that could have been used in its IP dispute with Korea's Hynix Semiconductor, a District Court judge has ruled, although he said that Rambus' patents were still valid. Judge Ronald Whyte didn't set a penalty for the U.S. company, although Hynix expects the ruling to "substantially limit" the royalties it will need to pay Rambus for infringing the latter's IP. (PR)
Apple (AAPL) reportedly cuts its orders from Samsung (SSNLF.PK) for DRAM and NAND memory chips for the new iPhone, with beneficiaries including Elpida, Toshiba and SK Hynix. However, Samsung remains the only manufacturer of Apple-designed microchips for the handset, as well as for the iPad. Apple's DRAM and NAND bookings from the Korean giant had been falling before the latest move.
Following Micron's (MU +5.2%) purchase of Elpida, the DRAM industry will have mostly consolidated around Micron, Samsung (SSNLF.PK), and Hynix (HXSCF.PK). That's fueling hopes the industry will not longer witness the kind of brutal price war it saw last year. But DRAM is notoriously cyclical, and, barring actions that would upset regulators, it's likely to remain that way. Much will still depend on how well mobile DRAM demand offsets a PC market that could remain weak for a long time.
A group of Elpida Memory's bondholders oppose Micron's (MU +2%) bid to buy the bankrupt Japanese firm as too low, Reuters reports. The creditors have therefore contacted South Korea's Hynix (HXSCF.PK) - which dropped out of the auction - and U.S.-based GlobalFoundries about selling the company to them.
Should Micron (MU -3.9%) succeed in acquiring Elpida, as is rumored, the DRAM industry will have largely consolidated around 3 vendors: Samsung (SSNLF.PK - 44% share), Micron (23% share), and Hynix (HXSCF.PK - also 23%). Sterne Agee thinks the Street is worried about the deal's price and Micron's financing needs. However, the firm values Elpida's assets at $7B+, far above Micron's reported $2.5B+ offer.
The scrum for bankrupt Japanese chipmaker Elpida Memory (ELPDF.PK) is heating up with private-equity firms TPG Capital and Hony Capital looking at a joint bid for the No. 2 memory-chip manufacturer. The firms are expected to join SK Hynix (HXSCF.PK) in a second round of bidding, scheduled to close April 27. (previously)
Spansion (CODE) announces an alliance with Hynix Semiconductor (HXSCF.PK) to sell NAND flash memory chips for more specialized applications in products like cars, videogame systems and TVs. CODE has been getting nearly all its revenue from NOR flash technology, which gradually has been overshadowed by sales of NAND chips for mobile devices.
South Korean chipmaker Hynix (HXSCF.PK), which previously denied it was interested in buying Elpida, now says it has submitted preliminary interest in bidding for the Japanese chipmaker, which filed for bankruptcy last month.
Chipmaker Elpida Memory (ELPDF.PK) will start tie-up talks next month with rival Nanya Technology, reports the Nikkei business daily, in hopes of presenting as a stronger competitor to Samsung (SSNLF.PK) and Hynix Semiconductor in the DRAM market.
Memory technology firm Rambus (RMBS) is down 3.2% after an appeals court refuses to reconsider a ruling finding the company guilty of destroying documents relevant to a lawsuit against DRAM manufacturers Micron (MU) and Hynix (HXSCF.PK). However, analyst Mike Crawford doesn't think the ruling will affect the conflict's resolution.