Micron: Thanks, But No Thanks, For the Memory Venture


Last month, Taiwan's government announced the formation of the Taiwan Memory Co. (TMC) to boost the country's DRAM industry that competes with such manufacturers as Samsung and Hynix, both of South Korea, according to Reuters. Participants in the project included Nanya Technology, a Taiwan DRAM maker, and Inotera, a joint venture between Nanya and Micron.

Taiwan's six DRAM makers are struggling because of a supply gut of memory chips, a result of the worldwide recession and slowing sales of computers and consumer electronics, according to a statement issued Thursday by Taiwan's Central News Agency.

Last week, TMC chose Elpida Memory, a Japanese company, to be a technology partner to help develop DRAM chips for computers and mobile products, according to Reuters. Elpida is a Micron competitor.

In the statement issued by Taiwan's Central News Agency, Fred Fishburn, who is both a Micron executive in Taiwan and assistant vice president at Inotera, said Micron "decided against an alliance with TMC mainly because it feared that such a partnership could erode its technological superiority by exposing its secrets to Elpida."

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The Reuters story quoted Nanya Technology chairman Wu Chia-chau as saying that Micron, Nanya and Inotera will focus instead on developing memory chips that have bigger profit margins, and use more advanced process technology to cut costs and increase manufacturing efficiency.

Micron executives in the U.S. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.