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May 26, 2008

Wikipedia: Micron Technology

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Micron Technology, Inc.
Type Public (NYSE: MU)
Founded 1978
Headquarters Flag of the United States Boise, Idaho, USA
Key people Steve Appleton, Chairman, CEO & President
Industry Semiconductors
Products Computer memory, CMOS Image sensors
Revenue Image:green up.png $4,880.2 million USD (2005)
Employees 22,600
Subsidiaries Crucial Technology
Lexar Media, Inc.
SpecTek
Website www.micron.com

Micron Technology (“Micron”) NYSE: MU is a multinational company based in Boise, Idaho, USA, best known for producing many forms of semiconductor devices. This includes DRAM, SDRAM, flash memory, and CMOS image sensing chips. Most consumers are more familiar with its consumer brand Crucial Technology. Micron Technology is among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders.

Contents

History

Micron was founded in Boise, Idaho, in 1978 by Ward Parkinson, Joe Parkinson, Dennis Wilson, and Doug Pitman. Startup funding was provided by local Idaho businessmen Tom Nicholson, Allen Noble, and Ron Yanke. Later it received funding from Idaho billionaire J. R. Simplot, whose fortune was made in the potato business. In 1981, its first wafer fabrication unit (“Fab 1”) was completed and Micron was producing 64K DRAM chips. A second “fab” was completed in late 1984 to produce 256K DRAM chips. By focusing on being a low-cost producer, Micron survived numerous collapses in the DRAM market which caused many competitors to leave the industry. One of the most vicious was in 1985, when allegations of Japanese import dumping fueled a price collapse that caused DRAM inventor Intel to leave the market. Micron survived and eventually acquired the memory businesses of rivals Texas Instruments in 1998 and Toshiba in 2001. These acquisitions gave Micron an international presence with production facilities in Italy, Singapore, and Japan. Today Micron is the only DRAM manufacturer in the United States and its primary competitors include Infineon Technologies, Samsung, Hynix, and Elpida. In 1994, founder Joe Parkinson retired as CEO and was replaced with current CEO Steve Appleton.

In the early 1990s the company formed Micron Computers (later known as Micron Electronics) to manufacture PCs. The subsidiary was based in nearby Nampa, Idaho, and sold computers under the brand names Micron, and later, MicronPC & MicronPC.com.

In 1998 Micron Technology acquired Rendition, a maker of 3D graphics chips.

Control of Micron Technology’s Internet business, Micron Internet Services, was transferred to Micron Electronics in 1999. Micron Electronics took on a new focus – bundling computers and Internet services. Controversial MEI CEO Joel Koecher purchased Internet firm HostPro (Web.com), merging it in to the company.

In 2001, the computer-making and Internet business were split. The Internet assets were merged with Interland Inc, which changed its name to web.com, and all ties to Micron Technology were severed. The computer-making operations were sold to Gores Technology Group, which later re-branded the MicronPC brand name to “MPC Computers”. MPC Computers, now owned by the MPC Corporation (formerly HyperSpace Communications, Inc.) continues to operate out of nearby Nampa, ID.

In June 2007, Steve Appleton gave up the title of President to COO Mark Durcan.

In October 2007, the company introduced MT9V023 sensor that enables a more perceptive driving experience by providing an intuitive look at the drive ahead or the view behind. This automobile image sensor will find applications in smart cars.

Micron makes RAM in different grades. For computer RAM – DDR2 SDRAM, Micron makes the models “D9GKX”, “D9GMH” and “D9GCT”. All three are considered high grade RAM, sought by computer enthusiasts.

In 2002, armed with the Sherman Antitrust Act, the United States Department of Justice began a probe into the activities of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) manufacturers. US computer makers, including Dell and Gateway, claimed that inflated DRAM pricing was causing lost profits and hindering their effectiveness in the marketplace. To date, five manufacturers have pleaded guilty to their involvement in an international price-fixing conspiracy including Hynix, Infineon, Micron Technology, Samsung, and Elpida. Micron Technology was not fined for its involvement due to co-operation with investigators.

Finances

The company posted a net loss of $225 million ($0.29 per diluted share) on net sales of $1.3 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2007.

Micron Creates New Imaging Brand: Aptina

Memory chipmaker Micron Technology has launched its image sensor business as a more independent division called Aptina Imaging, a move the company believes will improve its flexibility and business potential.

The new subsidiary is based in San Jose, Calif., a Silicon Valley location that’s a long way from Micron’s Boise, Idaho, headquarters. It will employ several hundred of Micron’s 19,000 employees, Micron said.

“We need the additional flexibility and identity to be able to grow the way the markets we see are growing,” said Shane Thomas, director of product marketing for the imaging business.

For example, Aptina will have a dedicated sales force and get new options for finding manufacturing capacity to build its products, Thomas said. “We’re able to respond more quickly to our customers’ needs.[1]

See also

  • DRAM price fixing
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