As flash recovers, fears of another bubble

February 11, 2010: 4:04 PM ET

SanDisk founder and CEO Eli Harari holds one terabyte of flash memory during an interview about the future of the storage market. Photo: Jon Fortt.

Flash memory might rule the roost when it comes to gadget storage – all the sleekest devices from smartphones to the upcoming iPad use it – but it can be tough to make a profit selling the stuff.

No one knows that better than Eli Harari. As founder and CEO of flash memory maker SanDisk (SNDK), he has been through a roller-coaster year.

Late 2008 was the worst of times. In a race for market share, SanDisk and its rivals flooded the market with flash chips. That, combined with weak consumer demand from a global recession, sank prices and drove everybody into the red. "We had a period of irrational exuberance," Harari says, borrowing a dot-com-era phrase. More

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