by Brian Beeler

SSD Sales, NAND Growth Driving Micron

Micron reported their quarter ending December 1 last night, with somewhat mixed results. While earnings per share fell below analyst estimates, the two themes throughout the earnings call were around the growth of their NAND output and sales and the sub-par DRAM sales, largely as a result of the sagging PC business, which is weighed down by the hard drive shortage. 

The NAND business for Micron grew 6% over the prior quarter, where DRAM sales were flat. Micron's Singapore NAND fab is well ahead of schedule and is producing MLC NAND wafers. The Singapore fab is huge for Micron as they grown beyond the joint venture with Intel (IMFT) in the Utah fab. Micron took 65% of the Singapore production in the quarter which just ended, and will scale that up to 78% in their second fiscal year quarter. Production out of the IMFT fab will continue to be split roughly 50/50 with Intel. 

Micron surprised many by announcing they're seeing increased demand in SSD sales, something that's been anecdotally talked about as an expected outcome due to the hard drive shortage. But with PC sales down and Intel saying they haven't see much pickup in SSD sales, Micron's bullish take is a bit counter to what we've been hearing lately; outside of pockets like OCZ guiding their forecasted 2011 sales higher.

Micron calls the consumer SSD demand "very strong" while enterprise adoption grew more modestly. They expect increased consumer SSD adoption to carry on through 2012 as price points on the drives continue to decline. SSD demand is forecasted by analysts to be driven 80% by consumers and 20% by the enterprise, but the total dollar value from each group will be near equal due to the much higher selling prices of enterprise SSDs. 

Other notes of interest:

  • MLC continues to take share away from SLC NAND
  • NAND inventories are lower than Micron likes, due to uptick in SSD demand
  • Apple's deal with Anobit won't change Micron's NAND sales to Apple
  • Industry average SSD capacity for the consumer space is 150GB
  • Micron thinks SSD sales can double in their fiscal 2012

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