updated 11:10 am EDT, Fri August 10, 2007
Samsung Effect on microSD
Samsung's recent power outage at six of its flash memory factories may have been remedied relatively quickly but is causing problems for companies producing microSD cards for cellphones and other handhelds, say people familiar with the region's memory chip business. At least some of the factories involved were producing the extra-small chips said to be needed for microSD cards made by Taiwanese companies, and the sudden drop in stock has forced multiple manufacturers to let their factories sit completely idle while they wait for fresh supplies.
The drop-off is not expected to have a significant effect on the largest companies such as Kingston and SanDisk, which either make their own or turn to factories from Toshiba and other Samsung rivals. Orders for flash memory have gone up at these alternative sites, according to claims. However, small or mid-size companies may suffer a potentially serious blow depending on how often they are forced to go without shipping products.
Other memory industry figures are also concerned that Samsung's best efforts to minimized damage caused by its outage could still result in a much larger supply problem. Stock of flash memory regardless of the exact type could still be constrained past late August, they said. If so, the accident may strain supplies for Apple and other firms that depend heavily on flash for cellphones and media players.