Micron Technology - History - 1978–1999


Micron was founded in Boise, Idaho, in 1978 by Ward Parkinson, Joe Parkinson, Dennis Wilson, and Doug Pitman as a semiconductor design consulting company. Startup funding was provided by local Idaho businessmen Tom Nicholson, Allen Noble, and Ron Yanke. Later it received funding from Idaho billionaire J. R. Simplot, whose fortune was made in the potato business. In 1981, its first wafer fabrication unit ("Fab 1") with 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) of space was completed and Micron started producing 64K DRAM chips. A second fab was completed in late 1984 to produce 256K DRAM chips.

By focusing on being a low-cost producer, Micron survived numerous collapses in the DRAM market which caused many competitors to leave the industry. One of the most vicious was in 1985, when allegations of Japanese import dumping fueled a price collapse that caused DRAM pioneer Intel to leave the market. Micron survived and eventually acquired the memory businesses of rivals Texas Instruments in 1998 and Toshiba in 2001. These acquisitions gave Micron an international presence with production facilities in Italy, Singapore, and Japan. In 1994, founder Joe Parkinson retired as CEO and Steve Appleton took over as Chairman, President, and CEO.

In the early 1990s the company formed Micron Computers to manufacture PCs. The subsidiary was based in nearby Nampa, Idaho, and sold computers under the brand names Edge Technology, and later, MicronPC & MicronPC.com. ZEOS International, Micron Computer, and Micron Custom Manufacturing Services (MCMS) merged in 1996 to become Micron Electronics.

In 1998 Micron Technology acquired Rendition, a maker of 3D graphics chips.

Control of Micron Technology's Internet business, Micron Internet Services, was transferred to Micron Electronics, Inc. (MEI) in 1999. Micron Electronics took on a new focus—bundling computers and Internet services. MEI CEO Joel Kocher purchased Internet firm HostPro (Web.com), merging it in to the company.

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