Thursday, November 1, 2007

Saifun -- Is It The Little Flash Company That Could?


Do you think the market for smart phones, digital audio (MP3) players, consumer solid state drives (SSDs), portable media players, digital video cameras, GPS devices, multimedia and music handsets, memory cards and USB flash drives are growing? All these products provided a disruptive position taking away market share from their predecessors.

One market segment that could see even stronger growth than these separate products we mentioned, and include other growth products, is the flash memory market. Flash is a root component used in all the above products and more.

Based on history we are forecasting that flash is the memory medium of choice for a plethora of devices in the consumer electronics in wireless devices and that flash will grow faster than the wireless devise market. It appears that in the past, memory for computing devices has grown faster than the device that utilizes the memory. Memory of the Personal Computer (PC) and the Internet has grown faster than their supporting platform. With the PC creating tremendous growth and history as our guide the demand for both memory and disc drives for the personal computer was often the impetus of many upgrade cycles. The Internet with the many millions of new web pages created a tremendous growth in storage. Ive seen in many reports that forecasted storage of the internet has been one of the fastest growing subsets of the internet as a whole.

With a decrease in price per gigabyte (GB) of more than 80 percent over the past three years and with the high growth in wireless data the need for new and addition memory could exceed the growth of the hardware device market that uses flash for its memory. The current market in flash memory is about $25 billion annually and its forecast is about 40 billion by 2010.

With each new product cycle the advantages of flash have become more disruptive allowing it to become about 30-40% cheaper every year. Many experts are forecasting this disruptive curve to replace the disc drive market for PCs. Flash has already replaced hard drives in most MP3 players.

Currently the flash memory is designed to support two types of flash memory. One type of memory supports your machines internal usage or operating system, the other type is for more external storage needs. The internal memory often uses the architecture of NOR, which has been established for years and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) considered by many as the market leader. The NOR technology is a more complex technology and is starting to see the market mature.

Often you will find both NOR and NAND in the same mobile device.

The much faster growing market is for external memory market needs or NAND and the one of the leaders is SanDisk. SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK), founded and managed by president and CEO Dr. Eli Harari. SanDisk and Toshiba jointly launched the multi-level cell (MLC). This technology made it possible to divide the cell and store two bits of data on the same piece of silicon (x2, as it were), which significantly improved the profitability of manufacturers and fabs, basically doubling the price performance curve.

This process has become the leader and allowed NAND MLC to become disruptive to the predecessor NOR architecture and in 18 months penetration has been so great that MLC is becoming dominate force in flash.

We believe that this new curve of double captivity on a single cell technology will become the single most important factor for next generation flash memory, and it will become essential as flash is staring to see possible limits in the reduction of its die size as many experts are starting their forecasting. If flash is going to continue on its curve of lowering the price of a gigabyte by 80% over the next three years, it is my opinion they will need an architecture thats designed specifically to establish this goal. There is a proprietary NROM architecture that has many advantages toward increasing capacity of bits per cell. The NROM is close to production of 4 bits of memory in each cell or quad flash.

The company we believe has a unique position and leads the NROM approach in the flash memory market is an Israeli based company called Saifun (NASDAQ:SFUN).

Saifun is an intellectual properties company which its revenues come in three forms: licenses, royalties and support. This type of model has been very successes for our model portfolios in the past. The three previous companies that had core business from intellectual property we investment into our portfolios were Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) in1997 at 3.31 per share and still holds a position. Arm Holdings (NASDAQ:ARMHY) in 9/29/1999 @ 9.60 and holds half a position and Rambus (NASDAQ:RMBS) in 1998 which appreciated about 350% in 2000 and we sold the position in the model portfolio when Intel stopped supporting the Rambus architecture late and 2000 and in 2001.

Even though it is very early is Saifun publicly traded history we are excited by its new form of flash memory architecture, it appears that Saifuns approach has many advantages over the more established NAND and especially NOR. The single most important part is their technology curve. They have the ability to double the bits per cell allowing for a second compounding curve. The other architecture they are working hard on is to shrink their size and increase density, but we believe that Saifun with its simpler model should achieve a smaller die than the others but the real advantages with Saifun is the ability to allow 4 bits of memory in every piece of silicon (x4). Doubling again the events of MLC while at the same time reducing their size thus possibly leading the new flash architecture. Another advantage is NROMs ability to work both as an operating system and memory component being able to supply both markets that individually NOR and/or NAND has target.

A second company has just announced that in 2007 they will start producing a 4 bit cell in NAND. The company making this announcement is M-Systems (NASDAQ: FLSH). They claim they will have a product on the market some time in 2007. Even though they have achieved this tremendous breakthrough we believe that because they use the whole cell instead of a fraction of the cell for this doubling process, the whole cells ability to double again may become geometrically tougher. On the last review M-Systems has not explained their business model to (make at own fabs or licenses) and delayed the secondary offering.

It is has been our opinion that companies that form successful royalty models resemble gutters and the fab companies have the appearance like shingles when looking at a roof. When it rains the gutter can create a stronger stream receiving income and achieve a much higher level of profitability. The delay of M-Systems secondary offing might reduce the chance of more fab developments.

Either way this looks like a marathon race and since this is such a very large market it will be about a $40 billion market when quad flash is widely available, that means that any of the top three or four should benefit.

Saifun already competes extremely well with NOR but early 2007 when it doubles the number of bits from 2 bits to 4 per cell it should be able to show advantages over MCL NAND currently the price performance leader. Saifun has a chance of repeating the same step that, in our opinion, allowed SanDisk to lead the last cycle.

There are many new technologies looking to replace flash but at this point there are a few that are close to achieving mainstream volumes. You should know the Saifun technology hibernated for about twenty years. This is very common, the Internet incubated for about 30 years and electricity for 100 years. New technologies often hibernate longer than people anticipate, and then it seems that they often almost explode onto the seen very quickly.

Even though Saifuns approach is about 20 years old, the technology they have just started to achieve is commercial feasibility.

The true advantage is since they only use points in the cell versus in the more convention approach such as NOR or NAND that uses the whole cell. This simpler usage allows for higher data retention and also provides a faster response time, and hopefully more density, and less power.

This is a tremendous advantage having 4 times the bits in competitive cells. Saifun also believe future that future cells could expand to possible to 8 or even 16 bits per silicon.

Possible risk

Saifun only has a handful of clients, if they loose Infineon Technologies (NYSE:IFX) Saifun largest client, they would impact their business tremendously. On a side note, it looks like it will pick up UMC out of Taiwan.

Saifun has basically signed many very large vendors like Sony (NYSE:sne) and Spansion (NASDAQ:SPSN) a spin off Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) / Fujitsu (pink sheets) these based solely on the flash market are small in the market, since the production volume is small this could make it harder to be designed into leading volume products.

Even though we believe NROM offers a simpler cell structure with several layers, we believe it will be easy over time to reduce or migrate to a smaller form factor, but this has not been completed in high volume production. If and/or until they can compete in a smaller form factor this company will be, based on unit size, be at a significant disadvantage. Experts believe in 2007 this disadvantage should be at most minimal and Saifun believes in late cycles this will be come a true advantage.

To summarize

1) If Saifun continues to lead the flash market with more bits per cell with NROM flash architecture.

2) If Saifun if achieves the forecasting of smaller die than comparable flash.

If Saifun achieve either of these goals it could become an architecture leader in the flash memory market. If they are able to achieve both they would attain a real architecture leadership position.

According to several of our monopoly theories, available at the stock market value of the companies that lead architecture often grow faster than all the combined companies stock market values that utilize the architecture.

Thus, if Saifun become the dominant architecture with the smallest die size in my opinion it will probably attain the leading stock market value in the flash memory market.

Randy Durig manages the several Portfolios including the Monopoly Technology Portfolio to see the full list go to and

Durigs Monopoly Blue Chip Portfolio National Performance Rankings: 3rd In the United States, Ranked by 3 year annual return, for Large Capitalization Blend, 4th Quarter 2005, By Money Manager Review.

Randy Durig owns Saifun in discretionary client's portfolios and in his own account. Past performance is not a guarantee for future returns. All information we believe to be correct but make no guarantee to accuracy.

Randy recommend for open source investment news to read or publishing articles go to

Property As A Money Making Tool

You may have reached a stage in your life when you are able to consider investment in property. This can be because you want to secure your future, see you through your retirement years, or find that you have the capital to invest in such a project. There are certain risks you are taking when investing large sums of money, so, it is important that you make the right choices and decisions before investing in property. Consider getting professional property investment advice from property experts. There are property experts who specialize in property developments which can often lead to profitable returns on your investment.

When you decide to buy into a property development project there is a certain amount of research and investigation which needs to be done before hand to ensure you get good investment and returns on the property. So, using a good investment property agent and getting knowledgeable, experienced investment property advice is important. An experienced investment property agent will be aware of the clients needs and requirements, specifically that the client needs to make a profit when buying the investment property, not when selling it.

So, if you want to get a good investment property, find an experienced land investment agent to find the right deal for you. Using an experienced and successful investment property agent will ensure that your ultimate goals are achieved and all your investment objectives are met. Getting a professional investment property agent will ensure that if there is a good deal to be had- where your investment desires can be achieved.

If you are new to properties as an investment opportunity, choose an investment property professional to ensure your decisions are the right ones, get professional advice and benefit from the agents experience and knowledge of the intricate business of property investment. Your chosen property investment agent will have developed strong relationships in their industry with property developers; they are also experienced in recognizing a good investment opportunity, so you will benefit from their personal experience and industry knowledge.

So, make a good investment choice and dont miss out on good investment opportunities which present themselves through an experienced property agent. Let property be your money-making tool by getting expert advice and services from leading investment property experts. Let your investment goals and objects be achieved by using a professional, experienced investment property agent.

Phil Smulian is a reviewer for specialists in real estate investment opportunity, who will help you with real estate investment property, Cape Town Investment Properties.

Steep Gold Price Increases Ahead - Experts Foresee $2000 Per Ounce

Many investors are realizing that gold and silver now have an upside potential to appreciate that has not been seen since 1980. Similar to the situation of the late 1970s, investors are once again seeing gold coins and bullion as an important hedge against the uncertainly of war, inflation and the potential destruction of wealth due to a shaky dollar. Golds recent performance is also attracting serious interest from investors because it has outperformed the S&P 500 index for the past five years in a row. Gold and silver prices have moved steadily upward since 2001, as the value of the dollar has weakened. Many experts believe that this is a longer-term rally, which is quite young.

Robert McEwen, chairman and chief executive of a Canada-based gold mining company is very bullish on the future outlook for gold. "I expect it to test $850 by the end of 2008, and by the end of 2010, north of $2,000, possibly $5,000," McEwen stated in a recent interview. Strong gold and commodity prices are spurring investment in the search for new deposits by many mining companies across the world. His company is currently exploring for gold on mineral lands in central Nevada and expects to spend about $50 million to develop the site over the coming years.

Gold is seen as a profitable opportunity by many investors, having risen over 50% during the last two years, from $430 per ounce in May of 2005 to its current spot price of around $660. While McEwens price projection is considerably above the current spot gold price, he is not the only industry executive who foresees steeply increasing prices in the near future. The former CEO of a large well known US based gold mining company, Pierre Lassonde, believes gold will reach $750 by Christmas of this year. In spite of the price increases in the past several years, actual production of newly mined gold from most nations continues to decline, as costs rise at existing mines.

In spite of the fact that gold prices have been rising toward their May 2006 peak of $725, they have failed to break above the $700 mark this year, and are still seen as consolidating after the sharp run-up in prices last year. In addition, selling of the gold reserves of certain European nations, most notably Spain, is seen as depressing prices in recent weeks. Silver prices have also remained strong.

Many experts believe that although demand from jewelry makers will likely drop off as gold prices rise, it is likely to be more than made up for by increased purchases from investors who are seeking a liquid investment alternative to the dollar. Investment in gold and silver for both large and small investors has been made considerably easier in recent years with the creation of Exchange Traded Funds funds whose assets are gold or silver held in storage. That expected increase in investment demand, coupled with the declining value of the dollar, rising costs to mine gold and the geopolitical risks around the globe, should tighten the supply and demand picture for the precious metal providing the driving force to move prices upward in the coming years.

The author is an independent investor and not a consultant, advisor or broker. The information and opinions expressed in this article are presented for educational purposes, and are not intended to be used as investment advice. The reader is strongly urged to fully identify and consider all the risks before making any investment.

For more information on the case for investing in gold can be seen at the authors website at:

Chriss Web page and BLOG on investing in the gold and the stock Market can be viewed here:

Chris Ralph writes on small scale mining and prospecting for the ICMJ Mining Journal. He has a degree in Mining Engineering from the Mackay School of Mines in Reno, and has worked for precious metal mining companies conducting both surface and underground operations. After working in the mining industry, he has continued his interest in mining as an individual prospector. He can be reached at P.O. Box 3104 Reno, Nevada 89505. His information page on prospecting for gold can be viewed at:

Making a Living Investing in Penny Stocks

If you are interested in making a living in penny stocks then you will first need to ask what are penny stocks? The answer to this question is going to vary depending on who you ask. Some people say that a penny stock is any stock that is sold for under $5, while others claim that it is a stock that sells for under $1. No matter which definition you subscribe to penny stocks will generally be offered by small cap companies. The attraction that penny stocks offer to investors is the potential to make a large profit in a short period of time. Unfortunately, people who are attracted to penny stocks dont take into consideration the high risk rating of penny stocks. Penny stocks are generally rated as high risks because most of the companies that offer this type of stock are new to the stock market, and because of this they have limited liquidity, they may not offer financial reports for potential investors to review and there is a high risk for fraud.

If you are ready to accept the risks involved in investing in penny stocks then your next question should be, where can I purchase penny stocks? You have several options for buying penny stocks. First you can buy penny stocks online via an online stock broker. Secondly you can buy penny stocks through a stock broker.

After you have established where you can invest in penny stocks your next task will be to decide what type of investor you want to be. Most people who invest in penny stocks are day traders. This means that they will buy a penny stock one day and sell it as soon as it passes a certain value. This can be as quick as one day. Short term penny investors will typically hold on to their penny stock for less than a year. If you are looking for long term gains then you can develop a long term investment strategy and hold on to your penny stock for more than a year.

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