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The demand towards solid-state drives (SSDs) continues to increase as the devices become more affordable and consumers realize what benefits do they bring. At present notebooks are driving the demand towards SSDs, but enterprise customers as well as desktops will also pick up eventually, according to chief executive officer of Micron Technology, a leading maker of NAND flash memory.

"Our SSD shipments were up significantly Q2 over Q1, and we see that trend continuing with the Q3, it is going to be [higher than in the third quarter]. [...] The notebook segment is still driving that growth. [Still], enterprise is starting to play off pretty nicely, as I said, because of the technology development around intelligent controllers and firmware development around making these things more reliable from an enterprise requirement standpoint. [...] The combination of some OEM desktop pre-configured machines as well as some aftermarkets that have combined for some pretty impressive growth," explained Steve Appleton, chief executive officer of Micron, during this week's conference call with financial analysts.

A number of other suppliers of SSDs, including OCZ Technology Group, also recently reported about major increase in SSD sales citing increased demand towards different classes of SSDs.

Besides SSDs, Micron believes that increasing demands towards tablets will also drive demand towards NAND flash memory.

"A lot of the news around tablets and those kind of devices are actually pretty positive for us in the NAND arena. [...] Tablet market has been a very pleasant surprise from a NAND perspective year-over-year when you think about where it was just 12 months ago. So when you line that up, given the NAND supply picture for 2011, we are still bullish on NAND in general," said Mr. Appleton.

Micron this week announced results of operations for its second quarter of fiscal 2011, which ended March 3, 2011. For the second quarter, the company had net income attributable to Micron shareholders of $72 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, on net sales of $2.3 billion. The results for the second quarter of fiscal 2011 compare to net income of $155 million, or $0.15 per diluted share, on net sales of $2.3 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2011.

Revenue from sales of DRAM products was 6% lower in the second quarter of fiscal 2011 compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2011 due to a 23% decrease in average selling prices largely offset by an increase in volume. Revenue from sales of NAND Flash products was 8% higher in the second quarter of fiscal 2011 compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2011 due to an increase in volume partially offset by a 4% decrease in average selling prices. Revenue from sales of NOR Flash products was 7% lower in the second quarter of fiscal 2011 compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2011 due primarily to a decrease in average selling prices. The company's consolidated gross margin was 19% in the second quarter of fiscal 2011 and was lower compared to its gross margin of 23% in the first quarter of fiscal 2011 due primarily to the decreases in average selling prices partially offset by decreases in manufacturing costs.

Tags: Micron, SSD, NAND, Flash


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