updated 04:55 pm EST, Tue December 16, 2008
SanDisk, Toshiba Flash
Toshiba and manufacturing partner SanDisk on Tuesday announced they will cut production of NAND flash memory by 30 percent starting in January due to the global economic slowdown. With more production than there is demand, prices for the semiconductors have shrunk, with Toshiba's earnings suffering in the first half of the fiscal year. Before prices go back up, however, inventories need to be cleared out, investors say; the process is expected to prove difficult as demand is weak. Toshiba is not clear on how long the production cuts will last, or how they will affect its workforce.
The joint Toshiba and SanDisk venture operates two NAND plants in Japan that are capable of producing 260,000 300mm silicon wafers per month. Toshiba operates two factories that produce more complex 200mm wafers on its own. The world's second-biggest flash memory maker will also hold production of the 300mm wafers for 13 days starting on December 31st, which is a first for the company.
Toshiba supplies flash memory chips to Apple for its products, including iPods and iPhones and, together with SanDisk, other computer or personal electronics manufacturers as well.