Can Apple lead rebound in NAND fortunes?

July 6, 2008

There is an interesting piece of news on Digitimes, Taiwan, which says that Samsung has recently told its downstream customers that it will start reducing supply of NAND flash chips from July as Apple, Samsung’s key customer, has placed a large batch of orders.

Will this move do anything to the NAND flash market? In the earlier blog, I had highlighted what Future Horizon’s Malcolm Penn had mentioned — that the impact of the Apple iPhone has been minimal so far on the chip market. “It’s just one item in a very large and complex mix of products. The overall iPhone volume is miniscule,” he says. I would probably go with that statement.

Even Semico, in its recent report, has said that the NAND market has not experienced the ‘Apple effect’ as has been seen in previous years, so far in 2008, despite the upcoming 3G iPhone (with up to 16GB of storage) and the SSD option for the MacBook Air.

With a majority of the analyst community yet to give the green signal about an industry revival of sorts, everything depends largely on how the new iPhone will do! However, even if it does do well, it just may not be enough!

The consumer confidence is still quite low, and rising oil prices are not really helping. Will these factors have any effect on the consumer electronics segment in the long run? Too early to say though, and do bear in mind that one product or one brand can find it a tough ask to turn around, rather, lead the memory market, and the consumer electronics industry to huge growths.

All of us in the semiconductor/chip industry keep hoping that a strong rebound does happen, and that the industry remains on course of a strong growth in 2008. However, it is not right to pin faith on one product or one brand to lead a revival.

We are probably either to hung up about numbers or about technologies. Especially, whenever a new product or technology comes around, we start banking on that product or technology to revive the industry’s fortunes. Great technologies do not essentially lead to market revivals. We have seen that happen umpteen number of times.

Perhaps, it’d be wiser to let the industry have a ‘free fall’ or ‘free growth’, if you may, for some time, and let corrections happen over time, rather than bank on something or the other to carry the industry’s fortunes forward.

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