Last week, an incident related to the chemical contamination at two Western Digital and Kioxia plants caused them to lose approx. 6.5 exabytes of 3D BiCS NAND flash products, which will undoubtedly affect the production of Flash devices and systems. rumors of price increase They started right away, and according to Tom’s Hardware, the rumors have already been confirmed. Apparently, a Western Digital executive has already commented to his partners that «costs have risen significantly in the short term«, which will make «immediately raise the price of all Flash products«.
The chemical contamination problem was discovered when multiple inspections of the 3D BiCS component production lines at the Yokkaichi and Kitakami plants operated by the joint venture created by Western Digital and Kioxia discovered several impurities that rendered a large amount of NADN Flash unusable. . If we combine the high number of affected chips with the process required to develop a 3D NAND chip, which takes between two and three months, problems were assured. Also, it can be worse.
Apparently, Kioxia could have lost even more products than initially confirmed. Much more. Adding up everything lost, as many as 14 exabytes of NAND Flash memory may have been lost and rendered unusable. It would be nearly a quarter of the joint venture’s NAND output for the first quarter of 2022.
In the email acknowledging the loss of these components, Western Digital has promised to keep its partners informed regarding its production of NAND Flash. In addition, he has promised to help them with sales and promotion to help partners overcome what he calls an “unexpected event.” And yes, in this message Western Digital confirms that it will raise the prices of its Flash products immediately. Exactly, the company does not specify how much, but according to TrendForce, the increase could be between 5% and 10% already for the second quarter of this year.
Furthermore, as is often the case in these cases, it is very likely that their partnersamong which there are manufacturers of SSD drives, decide to pass on this increase to their customers, which will increase the prices of devices throughout the chain even if there is inventory. Western Digital and Kioxia have approximately 35% of the market share for NAND chips, so the increase in the price of their components will have a significant impact on the market.