Is Apple manipulating NAND flash memory prices?

By Justin Mann on December 1, 2009, 3:30 PM
The cost of NAND flash memory chips present in several Apple devices may have been deflated, according to a report from the Korea Times this week. Unnamed sources claim Apple's purchasing strategies are "questionable", harming the companies who make the parts.

Apple reportedly requests that large amounts of NAND memory be produced, and then places a smaller-than-expected order, creating an artificial supply excess. Apple then waits for the resulting price drops, only purchasing afterward. Manufacturers Samsung and Hynix did not comment on the situation, nor did Apple.

One industry analyst told CNET that changes in ordering is common on a small scale and does not cause problems. Contracts protect companies during large orders. Apple's decisions do affect the market though, with estimates of 20 to 30% of NAND memory destined for iPhones or iPods. If the accusations are true, it could lead to trouble for Apple.

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