There's change in the air everywhere. From President Obama's Change.gov campaign website, through the ever-shifting sands of the market, and across the seas to crashing banks in Iceland, you have to admit that we live in interesting times.
That includes big changes in specific industries. I've been searching for change in the computer memory sector for some time now, and it finally looks like something is happening. Micron
The Boise, Idaho-based memory giant has extended an olive branch of manufacturing expertise and capacity to its Taiwanese rivals. The idea is to bring a number of money-losing Taiwanese memory makers together under a holding company formed by the Taiwanese government. Micron would then take a stake in the venture, sharing patents that would be used in a joint-development model. Reuters reports that the Taiwanese government is willing to invest up to $2 billion in the new conglomeration, with Micron kicking in an as-yet-undetermined sum for its stake.
Japanese rival Elpida submitted its own version of that plan to the Taiwanese government, and we can't be certain who'll get the final nod here. But it is clear enough that the memory sector is going to consolidate, and fast. AMD
The faster, the better. The current global recession came at a time of chronic memory chip oversupply. Whether it's Micron or Elpida, Samsung or Intel
Computer memory will still be a risky business until the global consumer renews its collective appetite for discretionary spending on computers and portable gadgets. The current pricing problems come from both oversupply and low demand, and consolidation can only fix the supply side of that equation. Rocky roads ahead, in other words.
But for the first time in ages, I now believe that the bleeding will stop before I'm old and gray. Bottom-feeders and bargain hunters might want to look at Micron or pure-play memory technologist Rambus
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in AMD, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.