Investors believe that Toshiba unwittingly handed Micron Technology (Nasdaq: MU ) a huge victory when it suffered a brief power outage earlier today.
According to reporting by The Wall Street Journal, a plant charged with manufacturing NAND flash for smart devices such as the iPad and iPhone suffered a 0.07-second power disruption that backup systems couldn't fully account for.
Normal operations are expected to resume tomorrow, the Journal reports, but lost productivity could result in a 20% cut in Toshiba's NAND shipments to customers over the next two months. That's where Micron comes in.
Samsung and Toshiba dominate the market for NAND flash, but Micron and production partner Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) are also significant players. With shares of Micron up more than 3% as I write this, investors are betting that a fall-off in Toshiba's shipments could win Micron more business from Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) , among others.
Both are already Micron customers, but the prospect of additional Apple business has to be most tantalizing. Apple pre-bought $500 million worth of NAND flash from Toshiba last year. If the company proves unable to meet demand over the short term, the Mac maker may need to find alternative suppliers.
SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK ) could also take a hit, according to my Foolish colleague Eric Jhonsa. A leading supplier of NAND-based microcontrollers, the company has a joint venture with Toshiba that supplies flash at cost.
"A major drop in Toshiba's output could make SanDisk supply constrained over the near term," Eric wrote in commenting on the news. I think he's right; I also think Micron offers the better opportunity for investors.
Thanks to the iPad, iPhone, and a bevy of other smart devices, NAND is an important and fast-growing market. Neither Apple nor any of its competitors can afford a slowdown in shipments for long. My guess is this experience may get them thinking about further diversifying their supplier lists, and Micron is sure to be one they consider.
Now it's your turn to weigh in. Is Micron Technology poised to profit from Toshiba's misfortune? Please vote in the poll below and then leave a comment to explain your thinking.
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