As you may know, the NAND flash memory chip was originally introduced by none other than Toshiba, but since its birth, the industry’s landscape has transformed dramatically: namely, Samsung has emerged as the market leader, and according to the latest data, it looks as though that trend is going to continue for the time being.
According to DRAMeXchange, Samsung reached a whopping $14.151 billion in NAND flash memory sales alone last year. That’s a significant lead since Toshiba – coming in second place – saw a total of $7.898 billion. Overall, the South Korean electronics giant saw its sales increase by 34 percent compared to the year before whereas Toshiba saw a decent 18.4 percent increase.
Now this is a trend that we’ve been seeing over a year now: the gap started to really appear towards the end of 2015, especially during Q4 when Toshiba’s total sales decreased, and Samsung sold almost double the amount of that Toshiba did. But what’s particularly impressive with last year’s figures is that the gap between these two companies had never exceeded $6 billion. Samsung has come a long way since 2013 when it first started the mass production of 3D NAND flash memories – a technology that Toshiba has been struggling with.
The general consensus amongst market analysts is that Samsung will continue to dominate global NAND flash memory sales, but Toshiba may have a plan of its own. Since early this year, rumors started circulating regarding Toshiba’s plan to sell a minority stake in its chip business in order to alleviate its financial problems. Some predict that Western Digital Corp might be a potential buyer, and these two companies’ combined shares could exceed that of Samsung. Of course, there are antitrust laws, and the process of the buyout – if Western Digital Corp is even interested – would take a very long time, but either way, Toshiba’s sale of its chip business is expected to be completed by early 2018. Though Samsung’s growth seems unstoppable, with Toshiba’s chip business soon to be spun off, the industry may see yet another shift soon.