Apple Cuts Flash Chip Order Forecast, ISuppli Says (Update3)
By Tim Culpan
Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc., the world's largest buyer of flash memory chips, slashed its projected orders for the semiconductor this year, which may lead some suppliers to post losses this quarter, research firm iSuppli Corp. said.
Global sales of so-called NAND flash chips will rise ``marginally'' this year, instead of the 27 percent increase forecast earlier, the El Segundo, California-based researcher said in a statement yesterday. NAND chips store data in devices such as Apple's iPod media players and iPhones.
``Apple has slashed its 2008 NAND order forecast significantly and has informed suppliers that its demand growth will slow in 2008,'' iSuppli said in the statement, without elaborating on specific figures. ``In light of these factors, NAND suppliers are likely to go into the red in the first quarter, and are not likely to recover in the second.''
Jill Tan, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment on the report today. Apple, down 39 percent this year, fell $2.28 to $121.54 at 4 p.m. in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.
Sales of the chips grew 12.5 percent last year to $13.9 billion as consumers bought more music players, digital cameras and advanced mobile phones, which require larger storage capacity, iSuppli said. Apple bought 13 percent of the world's NAND flash memory in 2007, according to the statement.
Samsung Electronics Co., based in Suwon, South Korea, maintained its lead as the world's largest maker of the chips with 40 percent share in the fourth quarter, the researcher said. Tokyo-based Toshiba Corp. was second with 27 percent, followed by Ichon, Korea-based Hynix Semiconductor Inc.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Culpan in Taipei at email@example.com
Last Updated: February 21, 2008 16:30 EST