Canute Otellini DeniesThe Post-PC Era

Intel CEO Paul Otellini denies we live in a post-PC age: “The PC isn’t going away any time soon. If ever,”  he tells Businessweek. But one sign that the PC tide is ebbing while the mobile device tide rises comes from the changing usage of DRAM.

In Q2, for the first time since the 80s,  the PC no longer used over half the world’s DRAM supply.

According to analyst IHS, the share of DRAM used by PC  in Q2 was 49% and, in H2, it will fall to 46%.

‘This symbolises the decline of the PC market because of smartphone and media tablets,’ says IHS, ‘however, beyond symbolism, the development also illustrates the diminishing dominion of PCs in the electronics supply chain.’

The share of DRAM output taken by media tablets will continue to rise. Tablet share of the DRAM space in terms of bit shipments grew to 2.7% in Q2, up from 1.6% in Q1, reaching 6.9% in Q4 2013.

Cellphones’ share of DRAM bits will rise to 19.8%  in Q413, up nearly 7%s from 13.2%  in Q212.

 The combined share in Q413 by handsets and tablets of the DRAM market will reach 26.7%  –almost double from 14.1%.
The decline of PCs in DRAM share appears irreversible, says the analyst. That’s unless, of course, Santa Clara’s King Canute can hold back the mobile tide.

One reason why he won’t is  the growth in tablets which will climb  24% in Q3 and  55% in Q4.

Laptop shipments, meanwhile, are expected to increase by just 9 and 12%, respectively, during the same two periods.

Another reason is that more DRAM bits are being loaded onto the tablets. The iPad 3  has double the DRAM content of  iPad2  – up to  1GB compared to 512MB in the iPad 2.

DRAM loading in tablets is expected to reach 2GB by 2015 after DRAM loading growth of 79%  this year.

Tides come and tides go but they wait for no one – not even Intel.



  1. ok I did a little more research on this. IHS’s predicted usage of DRAM in 4Q13 is :
    cellphones : 19.8%
    tablets : 6.9%
    PCs : 44%
    Others : 29.3%
    Personally I think this is overstating tablets as if we assume tablet and phone DRAM size is the same as it generally has been to date, it’s saying 1 in 3 smartphone users will also have a tablet but let’s stick with their numbers anyway.
    ‘Others’ is mostly Games Consoles, Industrial, Automotive, Networking and Servers. Intel currently supplies the processor covering about half of DRAM usage in these fields but this will grow as PowerPC in industrial, SPARC in servers and custom processor solutions for networking slowly die away.
    Also by end of 2013 Intel will have some share of the tablet and phone market. It won’t be anywhere near ARM but 20% of it would offset the fall in PCs as measured by DRAM usage. Whether this is a valid metric is another thing but it’s the one you based your article on.
    In conclusion I don’t think Intel are going to be hitting problems anytime soon and can quite safely carry on with their expansion plans in Ireland and elsewhere.
    It’s just a pity more ARM processors aren’t fabbed in Europe.

  2. It’s a shocking bad show Dick and I know this will come as a blow to a man who fielded the flak from Dick Petritz’s public statements, but Yes.

  3. David
    Are you implying that there are PR people out their who will modify the truth for the benefit of their employers. If there are I am shocked, truly shocked to learn this.

  4. Dick, IMHO this version of the tale was spun by Canute’s PR man after a sopping wet Canute had made a fool of himself.

  5. Funnily enough Mike I thought this morning I’d be hearing from you. I always like to help people overcome their delusions.

  6. How can I tell it’s Monday again 🙂

  7. David
    You, like many others, are unfair to Canute.
    His sycophantic courtiers were praising him and saying that, in his greatness, he could command the tides. (A bit like some companies telling their CEOs that they can withstand economic cycles) Cnut took the courtiers to the beach to provide a demonstration that he couldn’t.
    Perhaps the real lesson should be learned by banks and others?

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