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NAND flash overtook NOR in Q1, says iSuppli

Posted: 20 May 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:nand-type flash memory?

The shipment revenue of so-called NAND-type flash memory was roughly equivalent to that of NOR-type flash in the first quarter of 2005, according to market research company iSuppli Corp.

iSuppli also released its new rankings for the top vendors in the NOR and NAND markets for Q1.

Meanwhile, revenue for NAND flash in the first quarter rose to $2.05 billion, up 16 percent from the fourth quarter of 2004, according to preliminary data from iSuppli Corp. In contrast, NOR flash revenue declined to $2.02 billion, down 11 percent from the fourth quarter. This put revenue for the two types of flash in a state of virtual parity during the quarter.

"Since the inception of the market, NOR has been the predominant form of flash memory, with its sales routinely dwarfing those of the newer NAND," said Mark DeVoss, flash memory analyst for iSuppli, in a statement.

NOR flash accounted for 91 percent of overall flash memory revenue in 2000, compared to just 9 percent for NAND, the company said. However, since 2002, sales have boomed for NAND flash, due to its extensive use for data storage in fast-growing products like MP3 players, digital still cameras, memory cards and USB drives.

NOR flash is used primarily for code storage in mobile phones, an area that has experienced relatively slow growth compared to the products where NAND is employed.

With sales of products using NAND flash continuing to boom, this trend is expected to continue. In 2006, iSuppli forecasts NAND will account for 59 percent of overall flash-memory revenue, compared to 41 percent for NOR. In 2009, NAND will account for 65 percent of all flash revenue, compared to 35 percent for NOR.

The top-two players in the NAND flash market, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd and Toshiba Corp., easily retained their ranks in the first quarter, with market shares of 58.5 percent and 24.2 percent respectively, according to iSuppli's preliminary estimate.

The real news in NAND flash was the strong performance by some relative newcomers to the market: Hynix, Infineon, Micron and STMicroelectronics. Number-five supplier Infineon Technologies AG achieved market-leading growth, with its first-quarter NAND sales rising a whopping 230 percent compared to the fourth quarter to reach $33 million.

Seventh-ranked Micron Technology Inc. attained growth of 200 percent. Number-six player STMicroelectronics expanded its sales by 42.9 percent and fourth-placed Hynix Semiconductor Inc. grew its NAND revenue by 37 percent.

Intel Corp. retained the top ranking in NOR for the third consecutive quarter, according to iSuppli. The company has been engaged in a close competition with rival Spansion for NOR leadership over the past few years. Intel's first-quarter NOR flash revenue amounted to $578 million, down 10.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2004. The company controlled 28.6 percent of NOR-flash market share for the quarter, iSuppli said. Spansion achieved revenue of $460 million for the quarter, down 11.2 percent sequentially, giving it a 22.8 percent share of sales.

Clink links below for rankings tables. (The first link below is the rankings table for NAND vendors in Q1. The second link is the rankings table for NOR vendors.)

- Peter Clarke

EE Times

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