SanDisk Earnings Call Nuggets: 3D NAND and Software Revenue

SanDisk Corp (NASDAQ:SNDK) recently reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.


Michael Chen – Credit Suisse: Hi. This is Michael Chen speaking in for John Pitzer. I just had a question about some of your competitors have stated that samples of 3D NAND could come out as early as end of the year. Your expectations entire line for the production of 3D NAND is quite a bit later. So, I was just wondering I guess can you please explain the difference of the discrepancy?

Sanjay Mehrotra – Co-Founder, President and CEO: As we had described at our Investor Day we are very much focused on continuing to scale NAND from 1Y which we will begin to ramp up in production late this quarter to 1Z technology node which we will begin to ramp up into production late next year early 2015 timeframe and these are technologies that we believe will be the lowest cost technologies in 2014 and 2015 timeframe. Our 3D NAND technology that we plan to bring to production the BiCS NAND technology is a highly scalable and very efficient technology. We will bring it to production in the marketplace we believe in second half of 2015/2016 timeframe because that’s when this technology will give us lower cost than 1Z technology. So, our 2D NAND and 3D BiCS technology continues to position us well for cost leadership through – 2D NAND through 2015 timeframe and then with 3D NAND beginning in 2016 timeframe. And I also want to point out that the 3D NAND technology that is being discussed by NAND industry supplier is a technology that is not as scalable not as efficient as our BiCS 3D NAND technology. So, from what has been published in the literature we have studied that technology and we have concluded that it will take two or three generations of that technology before it becomes really competitive with 2D NAND technologies that will be in the marketplace. So, our strategy is very much focused on maximizing the ROI of the technologies and that’s why the longer you can go with 2D NAND the better ROI you have, and then once 2D NAND cannot be scaled any further that’s when it is the best time to bring 3D NAND technologies. I feel very comfortable with our technologies strategy for the years ahead in terms of cost leadership and continuing to drive our objectives of profitable growth.

Software Revenue

Mehdi Hosseini – SIG: Sanjay, as you scale the SSD, especially on enterprise side with all investment, how should we think about the software piece of the revenue and would you be able at some point to actually breakout the software from the rest of the revenue mix?

Sanjay Mehrotra – Co-Founder, President and CEO: So, software revenue in the foreseeable future will continue to be small and we do not plan to break it out. Software really is giving us tremendous opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogs with enterprise customers for their future roadmap and software, of course, is giving us opportunities to bring greater value to our customers with innovative differentiated solutions. Our software is something that not only works with our hardware, our enterprise grade hardware drives, but it is also a software strategy that will actually work with other competitors’ hard drives as well and that really truly bring strong value proposition to our enterprise customers.

Mehdi Hosseini – SIG: So how could we evaluate or quantify this value creation that this software piece brings?

Sanjay Mehrotra – Co-Founder, President and CEO: Well, the software piece will give us value creation in our hardware solution sales that we make to the customer. In terms of expanding our opportunity and differentiating our value offerings, as well as true software we are able to expand the market opportunity for enterprise grade SSDs as well because combination of hardware and software really provides even greater value and accelerates the penetration of SSDs in the enterprise segment.

Mehdi Hosseini – SIG: Sure, I understand the problem that we are facing the bits times ASP is no longer going to work for SanDisk given the value creation that you just mentioned. I am just trying to figure out if there is a better way of capturing and quantifying this value creation?

Judy Bruner – EVP, Administration and CFO: I think you will see the value creation in our revenue growth and our margins over time.