For Memory Chips, a Time to Forget

With too much capacity still on-line, the most popular chips are selling below cost. The upshot: Shakeout ahead

Semiconductor companies have all gotten whacked this year, but none harder than producers of memory chips. Prices of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chips, used to store data on personal computers, fell 80% in 2001, vs. a falloff of only about one-third for the overall chip market. With memory chips now often selling below cost, Boise (Idaho)-based Micron Technology, the only major U.S. memory-chip producer, recorded a net loss of $521 million for fiscal 2001 ended Aug. 30 -- a huge downturn, considering the company earned $1.55 billion the year before.

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