"Embedded" is still widely misunderstood, even in memory community. Spansion, Micron (Numonyx) make standalone NOR flash chips. The flash chip has its own pins and is not truly embedded with non-memory components in another chip. This type of NOR flash component manufacturer (which GigaDevice is trying to be) can easily die due to margin sensitivity as truly embedded NOR flash is made by more profitable foundries. Going the IP route is actually safer, yet if GigaDevice couldn't compete there, it doesn't look good.
The big players - Micron and Spansion - I don't think are going anywhwere. There's a lot of value to the NOR market and the non-wireless cusotmers that continue to use NOR. That's exactly why companies like Giga are trying to get in. Service requirements can be high though and you need to have product longevity. I'm not sure Giga and many of the other Taiwanese players can compete. They will carve out some niches I think, but that's probably the extent of their growth.
Spansion is still focused on NOR and leading NOR market share for embedded. Q2 revenue was $233.4 million, embedded revenue was up 11.1% from Q1. This week the company announced expansion of its serial Flash memory product portfolio.
It should be noted that the situation in Beijing got a little hairy for Tokyo native Junko Yoshida while reporting from the Chinese capital last week. Undaunted, she remained on station and got this and other illuminating stories during her recent travels across China.
I actually find the company fascinating. First, they are not yet another run-of-the-mill apps processor company. Expected revenue of $150 million in 2012 actually isn't bad.
I think the key is in how successful they become in a broad range of embedded systems with NOR flash memory.