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Western Digital Announces Sale of IntelliFlash Business and Intention to Exit Storage Systems

Western Digital Corp. today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its IntelliFlash business to DDN, a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and multi-cloud data management. In addition, Western Digital and DDN have agreed to expand their existing partnership through a multi-year strategic sourcing agreement, under which DDN will increase its purchase of Western Digital's HDD and SSD storage devices.

This announcement is part of Western Digital's strategic intention to exit Storage Systems, which consists of the IntelliFlash and ActiveScale businesses. The company is exploring strategic options for ActiveScale. These actions will allow Western Digital to optimize its Data Center Systems portfolio around its core Storage Platforms business, which includes the OpenFlex platform and fabric-attached storage technologies.

"As we look to the future, scaling and accelerating growth opportunities for IntelliFlash and ActiveScale will require additional management focus and investment to ensure long-term success," said Mike Cordano, president and chief operating officer. "By refocusing our Data Center Systems resources on our Storage Platforms business, we are confident that the Western Digital portfolio will be better positioned to capture significant opportunities ahead and drive long-term value creation."

Western Digital Unveils WD_BLACK Gaming Storage Lineup

Western Digital unveiled a full fledged lineup of WD_BLACK series gaming storage devices. With it, the company is branching out WD_BLACK as its new brand targeted at the gaming crowd, both PC and console. The WD_BLACK brand is a divergence from the company's classic Western Digital Caviar Black line of premium internal hard drives. The brand had a rebirth of sorts with the WD_BLACK SN750 M.2 NVMe SSDs. Its designers are launching several new products, including the WD_BLACK P10 portable hard drive, the WD_BLACK D10 external desktop hard drive, the WD_BLACK P50 portable SSD, and Xbox One variants of the P10 and D10.

The WD_BLACK P10 is a pocket-size portable hard drive with a single USB 3.1 cable needed for both power and connectivity. It comes in 2 TB, 4 TB, and 5 TB capacities. Its Xbox One variant has the Xbox One decal on its body, and includes a 2-month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. The WD_BLACK D10 is meant to sit on your desk with its separate power and host-connectivity cables. It also puts out USB type-A high current ports to recharge your wireless gaming peripherals. The base variant of the WD_BLACK D10 comes in 8 TB capacity, while the D10 Xbox One edition comes with 12 TB capacity and a 3-month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Lastly, there's the WD_BLACK P50. This portable SSD encloses an NVMe drive that serves up sequential transfer rates of up to 2000 MB/s by utilizing USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (20 Gbps) interface. A single cable handles power and host connectivity. It comes in capacities of 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB.

Western Digital to Deliver 18TB CMR and 20TB SMR HDDs in the First Half of 2020

Addressing the TCO requirements of data center customers, Western Digital announced its nine-disk mechanical platform, which includes energy-assisted recording technology and maintains the company's areal density leadership while delivering the highest capacity available. The company will sample the 18 TB Ultrastar DC HC550 CMR HDD and the 20 TB Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR HDD to select customers by the end of 2019 with production ramp expected in the first half of 2020.

This rapid ramp and availability of the 20 TB SMR drive following a technology preview in June 2019, supports a growing ecosystem and the continued industry adoption of SMR. Western Digital estimates that 50 percent of its HDD exabytes shipped will be on SMR by 2023. "At Dropbox, we are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency and power in our data centers," said Akhil Gupta, vice president of engineering at Dropbox. "We're excited to see SMR drives reach a 20 TB capacity point, which will enable us to power collaboration and deliver long-term value to our customers."

Western Digital Announces Technology Leadership Transition

Western Digital Corp. today announced that Martin Fink, executive vice president and chief technology officer, will be transitioning to retirement and moving to an advisory role with the Company. Mr. Fink will continue to report to Steve Milligan, chief executive officer, and advise Mr. Milligan and the executive team on matters relating to data center architectures, including RISC-V. Dr. Siva Sivaram, executive vice president, Silicon Technology and Manufacturing, has been appointed to the newly created role of President, Technology and Strategy, effective immediately. In this expanded strategic role, Dr. Sivaram will oversee Western Digital's key technology initiatives and corporate strategy.

Dr. Sivaram has more than 35 years of experience in semiconductor technology and manufacturing. Prior to joining Western Digital in 2016 following the acquisition of SanDisk, he held executive positions at Intel and Matrix Semiconductor. Additionally, he was the founder and CEO of Twin Creeks Technologies, a solar panel and equipment company.

"Siva has been instrumental in leading the ongoing development of our 3D flash memory and other next generation technologies," said Steve Milligan, Western Digital chief executive officer. "Looking to the future, I am confident that with Siva's expertise, we will be well positioned to further strengthen Western Digital's leading technology position and innovative product portfolio."

Western Digital Launches Two New Families of UltraStar NVMe SSDs

Western Digital today announced two new 96-layer 3D flash NVMe SSD families, the Ultrastar DC SN640 and Ultrastar DC SN340. Both are purpose-built for either mixed-use-case workloads or very read-intensive applications, respectively. The new Ultrastar drives help meet the evolving, and increasingly specific workload demands placed on data centers today, while building a strong, flexible foundation for the zettabyte-scale era of the future. Leveraging Western Digital's in-house SSD controller designs, firmware development and vertical integration, these new solutions underscore the company's strengths in developing innovations that allow customers' data to thrive, from edge to core to cloud.

NVMe is having a great impact on enterprises and what they can do with data, particularly for real-time analytics, M2M and IoT, and emerging technologies like composable infrastructure. Data center customers understand the nature of their data streams and application workloads and are realizing that today's general-purpose architectures are inefficient and can carry resource and cost overhead.

Western Digital Announces Financial Results for Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2019

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today reported revenue of $3.6 billion for its fourth fiscal quarter ended June 28, 2019. The operating loss was $381 million with a net loss of $197 million, or ($0.67) per share. Excluding certain non-GAAP adjustments, the company achieved non-GAAP operating income of $158 million and non-GAAP net income of $50 million, or $0.17 per share.

In the year-ago quarter, the company reported revenue of $5.1 billion, operating income of $843 million and net income of $756 million, or $2.46 per share. Non-GAAP operating income in the year-ago quarter was $1.3 billion and non-GAAP net income was $1.1 billion, or $3.61 per share.

Western Digital Unveils 10TB Ultrastar DC HC330 Hard Drive

While Helium-filled HDDs continue to push the capacity envelope, air-based solutions, too, are seeing great advancements to help fulfill the world's hunger for data and growing performance demands. Our R&D teams are pushing the boundaries of what's possible for HDDs while continuing to drive lower $/TB. Today Western Digital is excited to add the 10 TB Ultrastar DC HC330 HDD to its DC HC300 family.

The new Ultrastar DC HC330 is based on our proven and mature HC300 family of products, and if you have already qualified other capacity points in this family, you now have a very simple migration path, and best possible TCO within the HC300 family with the 10 TB HDD product. Furthermore, at 10 TB, the Ultrastar DC HC330 provides you with the same capacity as our previous Helium-based 10 TB, but uses fewer disks and heads to deliver even better value.

Toshiba, WD NAND Production in Yokkaichi Hit With Power Outage: 6 Exabytes of NAND Production Affected

In another episode of the "so timely considering market projections for NAND pricing" news, Toshiba and Western Digital have disclosed expected impacts following an unexpected, 13-minute power outage on June 15th, that affected the companies' joint manufacturing facilities in Yokkaichi, Japan. Western Digital announced a loss of almost 6 Exabytes of NAND production - Toshiba is expected to have lost anywhere between 6 Exabytes and 9 Exabytes themselves, since they usually have their factories working closer to full capacity. Return to standard manufacturing rates is expected to only occur by mid-July.

Damage includes impacted wafers that were being processed, the facilities, and production equipment, hence the need for an extended inoperability period to seriously assess damages and required reinvestment. 35% of the world's NAND supply is produced at this Yokkaichi Operation campus (which includes six factories and an R&D center), so this outage and NAND flash loss is likely to impact the global markets. Whether or not this is enough to move the needle from oversupply to undersupply is as of yet unknown, but it is unlikely so - although pricing changes are expected after Q3 and Q4 orders have been settled (whose pricing has already been settled and can't be subject to change). Loss of confidence in the Toshiba and Western Digital manufacturing venture, however, could help offset some of that pricing increase. Obviously, companies have insurance policies that cover them in case of such unexpected events - should they fall squarely out of the control of said companies.

NAND Manufacturers Accelerate Deployment of 120/128 Layer 3D NAND Fabrication

A report from DigiTimes pits NAND manufacturers as accelerating their 120/128 layer 3D NAND technologies, aiming for volume production as early as 2020. Even as SK Hynix has begun sampling its 96-layer 4D NAND flash in March, Toshiba and Western Digital already had plans to introduce 128-layer technology, built on a TLC (Triple Level Cell) process technology so as to increase density while avoiding yield issues present with current QLC (Quad Level Cell) implementations.

The decision to accelerate deployment of the next generation of NAND comes from the fact that the market still faces an oversupply of NAND flash, mostly driven by the mature process of 64-layer NAND technology. With new technologies, higher ASPs and lower production scales are sustainable, which should enable supply to reduce enough so as to increase pricing of NAND-based technologies - and allow manufacturers to somewhat reset asking prices for new NAND chips.

AMD Takes a Bigger Revenue Hit than Microsoft from Huawei Ban: Goldman Sachs

The trade ban imposed on Chinese tech giant Huawei by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and ratified through an Executive Order by President Donald Trump, is cutting both ways. Not only are U.S. entities banned from importing products and services from Huawei, but also engaging in trade with them (i.e. selling to them). U.S. tech firms stare at a $11 billion revenue loss by early estimates. Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs compiled a list of companies impacted by the ban, and the extent of their revenue loss. It turns out that AMD isn't a small player, and in fact, stands to lose more revenue in absolute terms than even Microsoft. It earns RMB 268 million (USD $38.79 million) from Huawei, compared to Microsoft's RMB 198 million ($28.66 million). Intel's revenue loss is a little over double that of AMD at RMB 589 million ($84 million), despite its market-share dominance.

That's not all, AMD's exposure is higher than that of Intel, since sales to Huawei make up a greater percentage of AMD's revenues than it does Intel's. AMD exports not just client-segment products such as Ryzen processors and Radeon graphics, but possibly also EPYC enterprise processors for Huawei's server and SMB product businesses. NVIDIA is affected to a far lesser extent than Intel, AMD, and Microsoft. Qualcomm-Broadcom take the biggest hit in absolute revenue terms at RMB 3.5 billion ($508 million), even if their exposure isn't the highest. The duo export SoCs and cellular modems to Huawei, both as bare-metal and licenses. Storage hardware makers aren't far behind, with the likes of Micron, Seagate, and Western Digital taking big hits. Micron exports DRAM and SSDs, while Seagate and WDC export hard drives.

Toshiba and Western Digital to Jointly Invest in Flash Manufacturing Facility in Kitakami, Japan

Toshiba Memory Corporation and Western Digital Corp. have finalized a formal agreement to jointly invest in the "K1" manufacturing facility that Toshiba Memory is currently constructing in Kitakami, Iwate Prefecture, Japan. The K1 facility will produce 3D flash memory to support growing demand for storage in applications such as data centers, smartphones and autonomous cars. Construction of the K1 facility is expected to be completed in the fall of calendar 2019. The companies' joint capital investments in equipment for the K1 facility will enable initial production output of 96-layer 3D flash memory beginning in calendar 2020, with meaningful output expected to begin later in the year.

Toshiba Memory and Western Digital will continue to cultivate and extend their leadership in their respective memory businesses by actively developing initiatives aimed at strengthening technology competitiveness, advancing joint development of 3D flash memory, and making capital investments according to market trends.

Western Digital Announces Automotive-grade iNAND EM132 eMMC Storage

Western Digital Corp. is addressing the automotive industry's increasing need for storage by equipping vehicle manufacturers and system solution providers with the technology and capacity to support both current and future applications including e-cockpits, Artificial Intelligence (AI) databases, ADAS, advanced infotainment systems, and autonomous computers. As the first 256GB e.MMC using 64-Layer 3D NAND TLC flash technology in the automotive market, the new Western Digital iNAND AT EM132 EFD extends the life of e.MMC beyond 2D NAND to meet evolving application needs and growing capacity requirements.

According to Neil Shah, partner and research director, Counterpoint Research, "Storage is one of the fastest growing semiconductor applications in a connected autonomous car. The advanced in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), AI and sensor-driven autonomous driving systems generate large amounts of data that needs to be processed and stored locally at the edge. The average capacity of storage required per vehicle is expected to balloon beyond 2TB by 2022."

Hard Drive Shipments Expected to Drop Nearly 50 Percent YoY in 2019

With solid-state drives (SSDs) entering value and mainstream price segments, and the transition in consumers' data-storage behavior from local storage to the cloud, there is expected to be a dramatic fall in shipments of hard disk drives (HDDs) in 2019. Japanese company Nidec, which manufactures nearly 85% of all DC motors for use in HDDs across the industry, estimates a nearly 50 percent drop in HDD shipments for 2019. Since these motors are specifically designed for use in HDDs, it is directly proportional to new HDD shipments, thus presenting a reliable outlook of the HDD industry itself. The DC motor inside HDDs is a non user-replaceable component as detaching it involves opening the seal of the disk chamber, thereby contaminating it.

In 2010, Nidec shipped nearly 650 million motors, which dropped significantly down to 375 million motors in 2018, indicating the sharp decline in the HDD industry. While Nidec will ship as few as 290 million motors in 2019, it estimates shipments of HDDs to go down by nearly 50 percent year-over-year (YoY). Data centers are swallowing up large volumes of high-capacity (>10 TB) HDDs for warm- and cold-storage even as SSDs and DRAM are sought for hot-storage. The client-segment, however, is now firmly captivated with SSDs, with even mainstream laptops packing SSDs. Prominent HDD manufacturers Seagate, Western Digital, and Toshiba, have each invested heavily in building up SSD product lines, and specializing their HDD portfolio for enterprise and quasi-enterprise (eg: NAS, NVR, high-uptime client) markets.

Western Digital Announces Financial Results for Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2019

Western Digital Corp. today reported revenue of $3.7 billion for its third fiscal quarter ended March 29, 2019. The operating loss was $394 million with a net loss of $581 million, or ($1.99) per share. Excluding certain non-GAAP adjustments, the company achieved non-GAAP operating income of $186 million and non-GAAP net income of $49 million, or $0.17 per share. Both the GAAP and non-GAAP results include lower of cost or market inventory charges of approximately $110 million in cost of revenue, primarily related to certain flash memory products that contain DRAM components.

In the year-ago quarter, the company reported revenue of $5.0 billion, operating income of $914 million and net income of $61 million, or $0.20 per share. Non-GAAP operating income in the year-ago quarter was $1.3 billion and non-GAAP net income was $1.1 billion, or $3.63 per share.

The company generated $204 million in cash from operations during the third fiscal quarter of 2019, ending with $3.8 billion of total cash, cash equivalents and available-for-sale securities. The company returned $146 million to shareholders through dividends. On February 14, 2019, the company declared a cash dividend of $0.50 per share of its common stock, which was paid to shareholders on April 15, 2019.

Western Digital Launches 4 TB Version of its Blue SATA SSD

Western Digital is launching a behemoth, consumer-oriented 4 TB SSD based on its WD Blue product line. The WD Blue 4 TB uses the SATA interface (for which controllers are still slightly cheaper than for NVMe solutions) with a Marvell 88SS1074 4-channel controller with a 64-layer 3D TLC NAND from SanDisk. Read and write speeds are basically SATA III-bound (sequential 560MB/s read and 530MB/s write speeds, with random 4K read/write of 95K/82K IOPS.)

The WD Blue 4TB SATA SSD has its official availability date on May 13th, but it's already popping up here and there around retailers' shops in Europe. The 4 TB SSD is being priced at €545, which seems to be inline with expectations for such a capacity level. Quick napkin math saying that these should find a home at the sub-$500 level is very likely accurate, considering past pricing practices from manufacturers between the European and US markets.

Western Digital Introduces Surveillance-Class Storage with Extreme Endurance For AI-Enabled Security

Western Digital Corp. today unveiled the new Western Digital WD Purple SC QD312 Extreme Endurance microSD card for designers and manufacturers of AI-enabled security cameras, smart video surveillance and advanced edge devices that capture and store video at higher bit rates than mainstream cameras. According to IHS Markit, global shipments of professional video surveillance cameras are expected to grow from 127 million to over 200 million between 2017 and 2022, and those with on-board storage are expected to grow by an average of approximately 19 percent per year.

With the migration to 4K and higher video resolutions, and the introduction of more smart cameras with built-in AI and improved local processing capabilities, surveillance cameras need to be able to store both video and raw data to facilitate these AI capabilities. As a result, storage with higher capacity, more intelligence and greater durability is increasingly required.

Western Digital's Award-Winning WD Blue SSD Goes NVMe

Western Digital Corp., a global data infrastructure leader, is accelerating the NVMe transition of value-PC storage by adding an NVMe model to its award-winning WD Blue solid state drive (SSD) portfolio, the WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD. The new SSD delivers three times the performance of its SATA counterpart while maintaining the reliability the WD Blue product line is known for. For content creators and PC enthusiasts, the WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD is optimized for multitasking and resource-heavy applications, providing near-instant access to files and programs.

Leveraging the scalable in-house SSD architecture of the highly acclaimed WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD, the new WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD is also built on Western Digital's own 3D NAND technology, firmware and controller, and delivers sequential read and write speeds up to 1,700 MB/s and 1,450 MB/s respectively (for 500 GB model) with efficient power consumption as low as 2.7W. Demands on storage are continuing to grow and client workloads are evolving, the WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD features high sustained write performance over SATA as well as other emerging technologies on the market today to give that performance edge.

Toshiba and Western Digital Readying 128-layer 3D NAND Flash

Toshiba and its strategic ally Western Digital are readying a high-density 128-layer 3D NAND flash memory. In Toshiba's nomenclature, the chip will be named BiCS-5. Interestingly, despite the spatial density, the chip will implement TLC (3 bits per cell), and not the newer QLC (4 bits per cell). This is probably because NAND flash makers are still spooked about the low yields of QLC chips. Regardless, the chip has a data density of 512 Gb. With 33% more capacity than 96-layer chips, the new 128-layer chips could hit commercial production in 2020-21.

The BiCS-5 chip reportedly features a 4-plane design. Its die is divided into four sections, or planes, which can each be independently accessed; as opposed to BiCS-4 chips that use a 2-plane layout. This reportedly doubles the write performance per unit-channel to 132 MB/s from 66 MB/s. The die also reportedly uses CuA (circuitry under array), a design innovation in which logic circuitry is located in the bottom-most "layer," with data layers stacked above, resulting in 15 percent die-size savings. Aaron Rakers, a high-technology industry market analyst with Wells Fargo, estimates that Toshiba-WD's yields per 300 mm wafer could be as high as 85 percent.

WD Announces CL SN720 and DC SN630 NVMe SSDs for Data Centers

Western Digital Corp. today announced two new additions to its broad portfolio of NVMe-based systems, platforms, SSDs, and memory drives for data center and cloud customers. With a full portfolio covering applications from edge-to-core, these additions are the Western Digital Ultrastar DC SN630 NVMe SSD and the Western Digital CL SN720 NVMe SSD. Each leverages the power of Western Digital's vertical integration capabilities, including internally developed controller and firmware architectures, and 64-layer 3D NAND technology. As a replacement for lower-performing SATA SSDs, these new NVMe drives meet the insatiable need for performance, scalability, endurance and low total cost of ownership (TCO) for public and private cloud deployments, hyperscale cloud environments, and next-generation workloads at the edge.

IT managers face challenges such as managing multiple workload types, scaling at optimal TCO, and controlling server sprawl. Due to its inherent scalability and performance benefits, NVMe is quickly becoming the de facto standard for everything from traditional scale-up database applications to emerging edge computing architectures.

SanDisk Unveils World's Fastest 1TB UHS-I microSD Card

As consumer demand for high-quality content continues to rise, Western Digital Corp. is enabling a bigger, faster experience with new industry-leading solutions that give consumers the best combination of performance and capacity so they can do more with the rich content they capture. At Mobile World Congress, the company is showcasing the world's fastest 1TB UHS-I microSD flash memory card, the 1TB SanDisk Extreme UHS-I microSDXC card. The new card features higher speed and capacity for capturing and moving massive amounts of high-quality photos and videos on smartphones, drones and action cameras. These impressive levels of capacity and speed give consumers the ability to create all the content they want without worrying about space limitations or long transfer times.

Today's smartphones and cameras allow consumers to create high-quality content in the palm of their hands, thanks to features like multi-lenses, burst mode capabilities and the 4K resolution. Western Digital continues to deliver the most advanced solutions to ensure consumers can reliably capture and share a special moment or create video content for personal or professional use.

Western Digital WD Black SN750 is a High-end NVMe SSD with a Chunky Heatsink

Western Digital over the weekend refreshed its high-end client-segment SSD lineup with the WD Black SN750. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface and support for the NVMe 1.3 protocol, the drive combines a refreshed in-house developed controller with SanDisk-made 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory, cushioned by up to 2 GB of DRAM cache. The biggest change this drive offers over last Summer's WD Black 3D series, however, is the optional aluminium heatsink originally made by EK Waterblocks, which improves the drive's thermals and possibly sustained performance. You can opt to buy the drive without this heatsink.

Available in capacities of 250 GB for $80, 500 GB for $130, 1 TB for $250, and 2 TB for $500, the WD Black SN750 offers sequential transfer rates of up to 3470 MB/s reads on the 500 GB and 1 TB models. The 250 GB model reads at up to 3100 MB/s, and the 2 TB model up to 3400 MB/s. Sequential write speeds, too, are improved across the board, with up to 3000 MB/s for the 1 TB model, up to 2900 MB/s for the 2 TB model, up to 2600 MB/s for the 500 GB model, and up to 1600 MB/s for the 250 GB model. 4K random-access numbers can be as high as 515,000 IOPS reads. All models are backed by 5-year product warranties.

Western Digital Delivers New SweRV Core RISC-V Processor

Western Digital Corp. today announced at the RISC-V Summit three new open-source innovations designed to support Western Digital's internal RISC-V development efforts and those of the growing RISC-V ecosystem. In his keynote address, Western Digital's Chief Technology Officer Martin Fink unveiled plans to release a new open source RISC-V core, an open standard initiative for cache coherent memory over a network and an open source RISC-V instruction set simulator.

These innovations are expected to accelerate development of new open, purpose-built compute architectures for Big Data and Fast Data environments. Western Digital has taken an active role in helping to advance the RISC-V ecosystem, including multiple related strategic investments and partnerships, and demonstrated progress toward its stated goal of transitioning one billion of the company's processor cores to the RISC-V architecture.

Western Digital Enters In-Memory Computing Segment with Ultrastar Memory Drive

Western Digital Corporation, a data infrastructure leader, today announced it is extending the breadth and depth of its data center portfolio into the rapidly evolving in-memory computing market segment. The new Ultrastar DC ME200 Memory Extension Drive is the company's first product that enables customers to better optimize in-memory system capacity/performance for running demanding applications that drive today's real-time analytics and business insights.

"Today's requirement for faster analytics, data processing, cloud services and high-performance computing (HPC) is increasing demand for in-memory computing across a variety of industries, including healthcare, telecommunications and IT, and retail," said Ashish Nadkarni, group vice president, IDC. "By expanding in-memory capacity, the Ultrastar memory drive helps alleviate the high cost of adding extra DRAM, as well as addresses the physical limitations of available DIMM slots, where scaling is either cost-prohibitive or nearly impossible."

Western Digital Announces Financial Results for First Quarter Fiscal Year 2019

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today reported revenue of $5.0 billion for its first fiscal quarter ended Sept. 28, 2018. Operating income was $686 million with net income of $511 million, or $1.71 per share. Excluding certain non-GAAP adjustments, the company achieved non-GAAP operating income of $1.1 billion and non-GAAP net income of $906 million, or $3.04 per share.

In the year-ago quarter, the company reported revenue of $5.2 billion, operating income of $905 million and net income of $681 million, or $2.23 per share. Non-GAAP operating income in the year-ago quarter was $1.4 billion and non-GAAP net income was $1.1 billion, or $3.56 per share.

The company generated $705 million in cash from operations during the first fiscal quarter of 2019, ending with $4.8 billion of total cash, cash equivalents and available-for-sale securities. The company returned $711 million to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. On Aug. 1, 2018, the company declared a cash dividend of $0.50 per share of its common stock, which was paid to shareholders on Oct. 15, 2018.

NAND Flash Prices May See Further Drops in 2019, DRAM to Remain Flat

Solid-state drives are cheaper than ever, thanks to systematic decline in NAND flash prices owing both to oversupply and increases in densities. NAND flash prices have already declined by 50 percent over 2018, according to a DigiTimes report, and will continue to slide through 2019. ADATA chairman Simon Chen commented that NAND flash makers haven't slowed down capacity expansions, and 2019 could witness an even bigger drop in prices than 2018.

Major NAND flash makers such as IMFlash Technology, SK Hynix, Samsung, Western Digital, Toshiba, have already taped out their 96-layer 3D NAND flash products, which could enter volume production in the first half of 2019. This could impact prices of existing swelling inventories of products based on 64-layer NAND flash. In theory, the 96-layer chips introduce 50 percent increases in densities. Adoption of newer technologies such as QLC (4 bits per cell) will expand densities even further. The same report also projects that DRAM prices could largely remain flat throughout 2019. Most NAND flash makers also happen to make DRAM, and could balance their NAND flash losses with DRAM profits.
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