Micron Reduces Workforce

Computer memory chip producer cut less than 10 percent of its 11,000-person work force in Idaho, but says additional cuts are possible.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Micron Technology Inc., a maker of computer memory chips, said Tuesday it's cut less than 10 percent of its 11,000-person work force in Idaho, though it indicated more cuts are possible as the company attempts to recover from losses fed by falling prices for its products.

''We have completed many of these work force reductions, which account for less than 10 percent of our work force in the Treasure Valley,'' Micron CEO Steve Appleton said in a statement.

Company officials declined to say just how many of Micron's 23,000 total workers in locations including Singapore and Utah were affected by the cuts.

Micron was hit by a global supply glut on products including Dynamic Random Access Memory chips for personal computers and NAND flash memory, prompting prices to dive and leading to the company's second loss in as many quarters. In the third quarter that ended May 31, Micron lost $225 million, from a profit of $88 million in the year-earlier period. In the second quarter, the company lost $52 million.

A company spokesman didn't immediately say which divisions were affected by the job cuts.

Boise-based Micron said it opted to release the details of the local layoffs only, to help ease uncertainty for employees, their families and the community that's home to the company's headquarters.

The company last laid off workers en masse in 2003, when it slashed about 10 percent of its total work force.

Appleton reiterated plans to move production closer to customers in Asia, where Micron does more than 70 percent of its business. In addition, the company is also considering additional cost-reducing partnerships, such as its existing pact with Intel Corp., the world's largest chip maker, to manufacture NAND flash memory for use in consumer electronics, removable storage and handheld communications devices.

''Additional changes, including the evaluation of functions more efficiently performed through partnerships or other outside relationships, will come over time as we work through them,'' Appleton said. ''Work force reductions are always difficult, but these initiatives are being pursued to support the long-term global viability and competitiveness of the company.''

He added Micron is offering severance packages and providing job-finding services for laid-off employees. He didn't describe the severance packages.

''We are doing everything we can to help with the transition,'' Appleton said.


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