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Micron to cut up to 2,000 more jobs

Largest U.S. maker of memory chips cites decreased demand for its DRAM products. The cuts come on top of a 15 percent reduction in the workforce announced in October.

Micron Technology is cutting as many as 2,000 more jobs because of slumping demand for its products, as the shakeout in the memory chip business continues.

The largest U.S. maker of memory chips said Monday afternoon that decreased demand for specialty DRAM products has "created additional challenges" for its Boise, Idaho, manufacturing operations. As a result, Micron said it will phase out 200 millimeter (mm) wafer manufacturing operations at the company's Boise facility.

"This action will reduce employment at Micron's Idaho sites by approximately 500 employees in the near term and as many as 2,000 positions by the end of the company's fiscal year," the company said in a statement. Its fiscal year ends in August. Micron added that it has sufficient manufacturing capacity remaining and "does not expect any disruption in product supply required for customer needs."

These job cuts are on top of the workforce reduction announced in October in its flash memory chip operations, the company said. "These workforce changes were not anticipated or included in Micron's earlier 15 percent global workforce reduction announcement last October."

This news follows quickly on the heels of an announcement by German memory chipmaker Qimonda, which said earlier Monday that its U.S. operations would seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Micron said that market conditions are not improving for memory products. "We remained hopeful that the demand for these products would stabilize in the marketplace and start to improve as we moved into the spring. Unfortunately, a better environment has not materialized," said Steve Appleton, Micron chairman and CEO, in a statement.

The company will continue to operate its 300mm research and development fabrication facility at the Boise site and perform a variety of other activities.

Cash restructuring charges will be approximately $50 million, which will generate a gross annualized operating cash benefit of $150 million, the company said. The net operating cash flow effect will be neutral for fiscal year 2009.

In the fiscal first quarter ended December 4, Micron posted a net loss of $706 million.

The memory chip industry overall has been caught in a particularly brutal downward price spiral that is hurting even the largest players, including companies like Samsung and Hynix.