Micron Technology and Intel will discontinue their partnership on NAND Flash development after completing the development of their third generation of 3D-NAND Flash (96-layer), according to their announcements on January 8, 2018. The two will part ways in developing NAND Flash technology due to their individual business needs, but will continue to jointly develop and manufacture 3D XPoint at their fab in Lehi, Utah. DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, points out that 96-layer 3D-NAND Flash will not become the mainstream products until 2019, so this decision of parting ways will not influence their product roadmaps until 2020.
On the other hand, Micron and Intel’s NAND Flash procurement agreement will continue, therefore, this decision will not influence their perspective production capacity in short term. In long run, Intel will focus on production of 3D-NAND Flash for server SSD in its fab in Dalian. Micron will have flexible development strategies and product portfolios as it has two 3D-NAND Flash fabs in Singapore, together with advantages in DRAM production.
Although the two companies have different needs in NAND Flash development, they will still closely cooperate in the development of 3D XPoint. Therefore, DRAMeXchange does not exclude the possibilities of their re-cooperation in NAND Flash development in the future. After parting ways, the two companies may also seek cooperation opportunities with other manufacturers, for instance Chinese makers, in order to increase their market competitiveness.