EE Times: Speaking of the end of planar, Samsung announced last week its 24-layer vertical NAND flash technology. What's Micron's response?
Adams: We should be sampling our 3-D NAND in Q1, and we love the progress we are making. We feel we have a 16 nm product with the smallest die size that will be the most competitive on cost.
Philosophically, we invested in a different segment than our competitors. We are focusing on server, storage and data center apps. It doesn't mean it won't scale down, but we believe the economics for [mobile] 3-D NAND won't give the right return in the short term.
This doesn't mean the end of planar flash. We'll have planar in our portfolio for many long-life apps, but there will be an evolution [toward vertical designs] over the next three to five years.
EE Times: What's the outlook for next-gen DRAM where Micron has invested in multiple technologies? Is it too early to tell which will be the winners?
Adams: I think so. The current memory technology has some legs. We know there's a shift or evolution coming in the future, but I don't know anyone can make a call on what it is yet. We see more segmented markets ahead so the industry may chose a couple different technologies.
We are shifting from a high-volume commodity model to solutions and system-level thinking as memory is generally developing toward applications-specific solutions.
[The new technologies] signal a bunch of change in our industry. We think people with scale will have the ability to invest, and we will have one of the largest R&D budgets in whole memory market.