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Micron cuts executive pay amid chip glut, loss

After reporting a $344 million fourth-quarter loss, the memory chipmaker says it plans to cut executive pay 20 percent.

Micron's earnings pain will pass directly to executives. Micron Technology attributed a $344 million loss in the fourth quarter to a cratering memory market and said it would slash executives salaries as a result.

This was Micron's seventh straight quarterly loss. The largest memory chip manufacturer in the U.S. reported a net loss for the entire 2008 fiscal year of $1.6 billion, or $2.10 per diluted share on net sales of $5.8 billion.

Executives will feel the pain. "We are implementing a 20 percent reduction in salary compensation for Micron senior executives," Steve Appleton, Micron's CEO, said in a statement. "The global memory market continues to experience severe oversupply and price degradation, and it remains a challenging period for all of us competing in the industry."

Amid the dire market conditions, Micron said it would "diligently ensure the competitiveness and long-term success of the company."

Sales of memory products in the fourth quarter decreased 4 percent compared with the third quarter. Sales of DRAM products decreased slightly compared with the preceding quarter, the company said.

For NAND flash memory products, sales decreased 10 percent, compared with the prior quarter, due to a 20 percent drop in the average selling price. Micron is a major manufacturer of flash memory and recently launched a line of solid state drives that will reach 256GB in capacity this year.

Micron is also in a flash chip manufacturing joint venture with Intel--IM Flash Technologies--that fabricates chips for both Micron's and Intel's solid state drive lines, among other products.

One bright spot: Sales of CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) image sensors in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008 increased slightly compared with the third quarter and represented 12 percent of the company's total sales in the fourth quarter, Micron said.