Chipmaker Micron posts net loss as PC industry wavers

Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:43pm EST
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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Micron Technology (MU.O: Quote) posted a quarterly net loss and lower revenue as it struggled with a slowing PC industry and macroeconomic uncertainty.

Consumers' growing preference for smartphones and tablets instead of laptops has been hurting PC manufacturers, which traditionally have been major buyers of DRAM chips made by Micron and rivals like Samsung Electronics(005930.KS: Quote).

Global economic uncertainty has also held down prices for chips, including the NAND memory, used by Apple (AAPL.O: Quote) and other manufacturers of smartphones and tablets.

The Boise, Idaho-based memory chipmaker said fiscal first-quarter revenue was $1.83 billion, down from $2.09 billion in the year-ago period.

Analysts had expected revenue of $2.005 billion for the quarter ended in November, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Micron said revenue from NAND chips was down 4 percent in the first quarter, compared to the previous quarter, with higher prices failing to make up for lower volume.

DRAM revenue was down 9 percent from the previous quarter because of a 9 percent drop in prices.

Reacting to surging sales of Apple's iPads, iPhones and other devices, chipmakers ramped up their NAND production capacity, but a supply glut drove prices to new lows this year.

Low prices and steadily rising investment costs to implement new technologies have been driving consolidation in the highly competitive and cyclical memory chip industry.   Continued...