El Segundo (CA) – Spansion, formerly a joint venture between AMD and Fujitsu, has gained ground on its rival Intel in NOR Flash sales. The company was able to even slightly outpace Intel in the fourth quarter of 2005. Spansion reported flash-memory revenue of $601 million, while Intel had sales of $600 million. ST Microelectronics was the world’s third largest NOR Flash manufacturer with revenues of $335 million.
Spansion’s progress partly can be attributed to a 15% sales increase, up from $523 million in Q3. ST Microelectronics also climbed 15%. A significant portion of the firm’s success however also originates in the fact that Intel decreases its focus on NOR Flash production – and shifts towards NAND Flash instead. Intel’s NOR Flash sales in Q4 rose a moderate 5% from the $572 million in Q3.
Intel recently announced a NAND Flash joint venture with Micron. The two companies plan to become a major global NAND Flash supplier and already won Apple as one of its customers. Intel is also expected to consume a significant portion of the production volume as the company plans to increasingly use NAND Flash chips on its motherboards.
“Acknowledging Intel’s NOR capacity constraints in the fourth quarter, iSuppli believes both Spansion and STMicroelectronics captured market share from Intel during that period,” said Mark DeVoss, senior analyst at iSuppli. Although revenues are up and unit shipments continue to break records, the top two suppliers were not able to post a profit, iSuppli said. Intel’s flash-memory division and Spansion reported losses of $12 million and $48 million respectively in the fourth quarter.