ELPIDA Memory has filed for bankruptcy, after failing to win a second bailout from the Japanese government.
Elpida was the last standing DRAM maker in Japan, after the sector was ravaged by competition from South Korea and Taiwan. The stronger yen, the reduced market for DRAM (tied to sales of personal computers, which have been pluging), and lower margins for its products meant Elpida could not compete effectively.
When it filed for bankruptcy, Elpida had liabilities of 448 billion yen. It has not been profitable for the past five years. In 2009, the Japanese government bailed it out for $140 billion yen, but declined to do so this time, meaning Elpida had to default on its bonds when they came due.
Elpida is one of the suppliers for Apple, providing memory for its iPhone and iPad devices. Its share of the Apple supply chain will most likely go to its Taiwanese competitors.
Photo credit: Jack Zalium