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Japan's DRAM market exodus

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

A top Japanese electronics executive has criticized the country's leading manufacturers for their wholesale abandonment of the DRAM memory chip business, warning that an "emotional" herd mentality could seriously damage the country's high-tech sector.

In an article published by Nikkei Business, the chairman of Texas Instruments Japan, Toshiaki Ikoma, said the decisions of Fujitsu Ltd, Toshiba Corp and others exit DRAM production will leave the DRAM business in the oligopoly control of Samsung Electronics and Micron technology. As an oligopoly, the DRAM market promises to be a "pot of gold" that Japan's electronics industry will now miss out on, said Ikoma.

Whilst using measured language, Ikoma nevertheless accused his counterparts in the Japanese electronics business of a failure of complacency and short-term thinking. By simply "going with the flow" he said all of Japan's major chip companies are now heading out of DRAM and into the LSI business. "However, as they move all together, they will surely face the same fate as in DRAM or other memory business, because there will be severe competition centering on smaller profits," he said.

In conclusion, Ikoma warned the Japanese electronics community that its abandonment of the DRAM business cold have important long-term repercussions for the entire industry.

"To assure the growth of the global electronics market as well as to let the high-tech industry drive the Japanese economy, they have to prevent an oligopoly in the DRAM sector by the two companies. Appropriate competition in the memory market is necessary for the development of digital consumer electronics. From this point of view, Japanese makers should spare no efforts to remain in the DRAM market," he said.

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