Everyone knows Micron as a memory maker; The company has been a DRAM leader since the 1980s. However, memory alone is not a great, long-term business because of the big swings in revenue as memory chips go through boom and bust cycles that never seem to end. Micron COO Mark Durcan gets it, and he is charting a course that keeps memory in the Micron portfolio but expands into other areas where Micron can lead. Last week’s San Jose Mercury News quotes Durcan: “We are the only surviving memory manufacturer in the western world. I feel pretty good about that.” (See “Micron: Chipmaker hopes diversification short-circuits losses”.)
More from the San Jose Mercury News article:
“…to smooth things out, he [Durcan] and CEO Steve Appleton aim to deliver Micron’s products that work in tandem, rather than by themselves. For instance, the company might sell memory chips for smartphones paired with specialized programs that tell the devices what to do.
Durcan said this approach will become increasingly important, with the memory-chip industry approaching an era where producers no longer can compete simply by doubling the number of transistors they put on their chips every two years. ”
This type of approach delivers more value to customers, which in turn generates more revenue and more profit than does the classic memory-buyer’s discussion “What’s your cost per bit and how much lower are you willing to sell your memories for than brand X?” Not much differentiation possible there, right?
To me, Durcan is clearly telegraphing a more apps-driven approach to chipmaking. It’s an enlightened approach that allows a semiconductor maker to get more value from the manufacture of silicon by providing system designers with additional value in the form of more intelligent ways for their applications to use the silicon.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that an apps-driven approach to chip design, manufacture, and marketing is a cornerstone of the EDA360 vision.
(A note of thanks to Scott Jacobson at Cadence for bringing this article to my attention. Thanks Scott!)