Even a quick glance at online listings should tell you that memory prices have been on a vertiginous downward trend for months now. Some 4GB DDR3-1333 DIMMs currently sell for just under 30 bucks, and 8GB kits cost about as much as lowly 2GB ones did just a year ago. No, really.
According to DigiTimes, that decline is causing problems for Taiwanese DRAM makers. Because those firms are "still lagging behind by at least one generation" compared to heavyweights like Samsung and Elpida, today's pricing forces them to sell 2Gb DDR3 chips at a loss. The site says 2Gb DDR3 chips are selling for $1.20 right now but cost about $1.50 to manufacture using "4Xnm" processes.
In light of the dire situation, DigiTimes goes on to say that some Taiwanese memory makers are mulling production cuts similar to those enacted in late 2008. That last round of countermeasures led to a substantial uptick in prices, forcing us to drop the Econobox build from 4GB to 2GB in several editions of the TR system guide. I seem to recall the entire memory industry trying to cut their losses at the time, though. If only Taiwanese DRAM makers are in trouble this time, perhaps history won't repeat itself.