Is this the year Toshiba finally achieves its ambition of beating Samsung into second place in the NAND flash market?
Toshiba was closing on market leader Samsung rapidly in the closing stages of last year. At the end of Q3, Toshiba had closed the gap to less than five per cent – 39.3% for Samsung; 34.6% for Toshiba.
Toshiba, which invented flash memory and licensed its technology to Samsung as a second source, has long lagged behind Samsung in the market.
Then, in September 2007, the then CEO of Toshiba corporate Atsutoshi Nishida, announced the intention of overtaking market leader Samsung in NAND.
For a year and a half, the companies’ relative market shares of 40% and 28% remained almost unchanged.
Then, in Q3 2009, everything changed. Toshiba grew its revenues 50% in Q3 in a market that grew 25%.
Samsung’s sales grew by only 15.5% in Q309.
What turned the trick for Toshiba was its three-bit-per-cell technology where it is the leader in production.
Toshiba’s three-bit-per-cell flash memories are particularly popular in consumer storage media such as USB, Secure Digital (SD) and microSD products.
It is a huge turnaround, and a terrific tribute to Toshiba’s tenacity in sticking to its NAND knitting at a time when enormous losses in the flash market looked like crippling the entire corporation.