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Micron Incident Disrupts DRAM Supply

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According to TrendForce, Micron suspended the operations of its Inotera Fab-2 fabrication plant in Taiwan following a malfunction of a nitrogen gas dispensing system, leading a disruption in DRAM production.

Fab-2The Fab-2 site accounts 5.5% of global DRAM production, with an output of 60000 wafer starts per month. This means the disruption will lead to a spike in memory prices, at least according to DRAMeXchange, the TrendForce memory price tracking service. Fab-2 produces DRAM used in PCs, servers and mobile devices, and supply chain news site Evertiq claims it is even makes memory for the iPhone.

"Inotera is also mainly responsible for manufacturing Micron’s LPDDR4 products that go into Apple’s supply chain for iPhone," Evertiq says. "The temporary shutdown of Fab-2 could have an impact on shipments of the upcoming new iPhone devices as well."

Staples Finds Buyer With Sycamore

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Following months of speculation on the fate of the office supply chain, Sycamore Partners emerges as the buyer of Staples in a deal worth $6.9 billion, the largest acquisition for the private equity firm.

StaplesThe announcement comes just over 13 months after the federal judge dashed the $6.3bn acquisition of Staples by rival Office Depot over fears the merger would create an office supply monopoly.

“With an iconic brand, a winning strategy, and dedicated and passionate associates who are deeply focused on the customer, Staples is truly an outstanding enterprise,” Sycamore says. “We have tremendous confidence in CEO Shira Goodman and great respect for the Staples management team and are excited about this opportunity to partner with them to accelerate long-term profitability.”

Toshiba Claims QLC BiCS Flash 3D Memory

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Toshiba announces the development of next generation 4-bit-per-cell quadruple-level cell (QLC) 3D flash memory-- allowing it to produce "the world's largest die capacity" at 768Gb (96GB).

Toshiba QLC FlashIn comparison, 3-bit triple-level cell (TLC) 3D flash maxes out at 512Gb.

The technology involves a 64-layer stacked cell structure, and allows the creation of a 1.5TB device with a 16-die stacked architecture in a single package, making another capacity record. This represents a 50% increase in capacity per package, at least when compared to an earlier Toshiba device with 1TB capacity via 16-die stacked architecture in a single package.

Creating such a device poses a number of challenges, since increasing the number of bits-per-cell by one within the same electron count requires twice the accuracy of TLC technology.

Petya Ransomware Spreads Across Europe

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A malware spectre is haunting Europe-- a strain of the malicious code dubbed Petya, first seen encrypting computers in Ukraine before spreading to Spain, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Israel and the US.

Petya ransomAlso known as NotPetya, Petwrap or ExPetr, the malware has affected governments and industries, including shipping firms, airports, banks, a petroleum giant and even the radiation monitoring system at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. According to Kaspersky, 50% of the malware's targets are industrial in nature, making it extremely dangerous since it can paralyse automation/control systems.

“[T]his malware campaign was not designed as a ransomware attack for financial gain,” a Kaspersky Labs blog analysis reads. “Instead, it appears it was designed as a wiper pretending to be ransomware.”

Lending support to this theory is the fact the malware generated just 3.99 BTC-- around $10300.

ISE Adds NEC, Barco EMEA Execs to Board

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Integrated Systems Events, producers of Integrated Systems Europe, announces a pair of additions to its Board of Directors-- Stefanie Corinth from NEC and Piet Candeel from Barco.

ISE EMEA Stefanie Corinth is senior VP, marketing and business development at NEC Display Solutions Europe, while Piet Candeel is senior VP EMEA, Barco. The two join the board as of 1 July 2017, and replace outgoing board members Wolfgang Lenz from Comm-Tech and Ollie French from Future Automation.

Corinth has 20 years of experience in leading marketing, sales and business development teams across EMEA. Candeel has extensive expertise operating across EMEA, in a 19-year Barco career that includes senior positions in marketing and sales management.

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