Micron Technology Inc.'s advice to OEM buyers on the DRAM dumping suit filed against the company in Taiwan: "Don't sweat it."
In an interview with EBN, Steven R. Appleton, chairman, president, and chief executive of the Boise, Idaho, chip maker, said the dumping case filed by the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association (TSIA) will have no impact, even if duties are ultimately assessed against Micron and other DRAM producers in the United States.
"We all make DRAMs at fabs elsewhere in the world. These products wouldn't be covered by any Taiwan dumping duties and could be shipped to Taiwan," Appleton said.
Downplaying the recent allegations, Micron observed that the dumping procedures followed by the Taiwanese government are similar to the process in place within the United States. That means tariffs pertain only to exports coming from the country named in the complaint, and do not affect similar goods made elsewhere.
In fact, Appleton said, the TSIA dumping charges may wind up hurting Asian DRAM producers far more than Micron, which he believes was the intended target of the suit.
Micron, which last year filed its own DRAM dumping suit against Taiwan's chip makers- a case that is pending before the U.S. International Trade Commission-said the TSIA's move is a clear case of retaliation. "I don't know what they intend to gain," Appleton said.
Genda Hu, president of the TSIA, replied that "Taiwan is only executing its law within the island to protect its industry from being hurt by others' illegal pricing."
Micron acknowledged that, after stabilizing at the end of last year, resurgent DRAM production and a resulting oversupply once again drove down prices sharply. However, Appleton said DRAM makers in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan-in addition to Micron-have all been responsible for producing larger DRAM volumes, in part because of the industry's need to improve profit margins by shrinking die sizes.
"First of all, increasing capacity is not equal to dumping," Hu said. "By definition, dumping is that a maker sells products to other countries with pricing below the pricing in its fabrication country, which is exactly what Micron did to Taiwan."
Appleton rejected criticism that Micron alone has caused the latest oversupply, and rebuffed recent complaints by Infineon Technologies AG that Micron has upset the market by ramping up DRAM production.
"That's absurd," Appleton said. "[Infineon] increased its own production greatly in the last two years, to go from a 2% to 3% world market share to 10% this year."
Appleton reiterated Micron's cost cutting strategy, which increases yields and production efficiency by shrinking die sizes. "We're not deliberately trying to take the largest DRAM market share, although that's happened as a natural consequence of our cost-cutting strategy," he said.