Micron CEO Steve Appleton Dies in Plane Crash

Micron CEO Steve Appleton died in a small plane crash in Boise. The Idaho-based semiconductor company is a significant player in the hardware space.

Micron Technology chairman and CEO Steve Appleton apparently died in a plane crash at the Boise airport Feb. 3. He was 51 years old, and had served as CEO of the company for more than 20 years.

According to the Associated Press, he was the only one in the fixed-wing plane, which an airport spokesperson said was a kit-built Lancair.

€œSteve€™s passion and energy left an indelible mark on Micron, the Idaho community and the technology industry at large,€ read a note posted on Micron€™s corporate Website Feb. 3. €œThe company expects to provide additional information later today.€

Appleton was known for flying small planes, sometimes at air shows, and at one point owned a small fleet that included two Hawker Hunter jets, a Cessna and a Stearman biplane. In July 2004 he sustained significant injuries from a crash in the Idaho desert. In addition, he also raced cars (at one point winning the 20-car Baja Challenge Class of the SCORE Tecate Baja 1000) and, at one point in his life, motor-cross bikes.

According to the Associated Press, questions had been raised over the years about whether the chief executive of a major company should freely participate in high-risk activities.

Boise-based Micron, which manufactures flash memory and solid-state drives, had been in the midst of some aggressive moves. On Jan. 20, the company announced it would acquire the assets of privately held Virtensys, a provider of PCIe-sharing virtualization software. Terms were not disclosed.

As a major semiconductor company, Micron has fabrication facilities in a number of locations worldwide, from Boise to Singapore. It also maintains a joint venture with Intel, under which its NAND Flash products end up in the latter€™s host processors. Rivals include Samsung, Western Digital, SanDisk, Toshiba, and Seagate.

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