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September 17, 2012

PC Share Of DRAM Market Dips Below 50% Mark For First Time Since 1980s

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

For the first time in more than three decades, personal computers accounted for less than half of all dynamic random access memory (DRAM) sales in the second quarter of 2012, according to the latest IHS iSuppli report.

The company's IHS iSuppli DRAM Dynamics report discovered that PCs accounted for just 49.0% of all DRAM bit shipments, a decrease of 50.2% from the first quarter of the year, Trent Nouveau of TG Daily reported on Sunday. It marks the first time since the 1980s that the PC market accounted for less than 50% of the DRAM market.

"This event symbolizes the decline of the PC market because of smartphone and media tablets. However, beyond symbolism, the development also illustrates the diminishing dominion of PCs in the electronics supply chain," IHS iSuppli analyst Clifford Leimbach told Nouveau, adding that the numbers signify the "arrival of the post-PC era," meaning that "personal computers are not at the center of the technology universe anymore."

"After accounting for the overwhelming share of DRAM buying for decades, average PC share from the first quarter of 2008 until the fourth quarter of 2011 hovered at approximately 55 percent, with share fluctuating periodically but generally trending down," he added, according to Hot Hardware reporter Paul Lilly. "PCs are no longer generating the kind of growth and overwhelming market size that can single-handedly drive demand, pricing and technology trends in some of the major technology businesses."

James Trew of Engadget calls it a "landmark statistic," and IHS said it marked "a significant changing of the guard that also reflects the growing dominion of media tablets like the iPad."

The worst is most likely yet to come, according to Computerworld and Reuters reports. Both media groups report that IHS iSuppli is predicting that by the end of next year, DRAM shipments for PCs will decrease by an additional 6%, with fourth-quarter demand for the chips falling to 42.8%.

Conversely, tablet share for the memory chips increased from 1.6% in the first quarter to 2.7% in the second quarter, and is expected to increase to 6.9% by the fourth quarter of 2013, according to iHS iSuppli. During that same period, cellphones are expected to increase by about 7%, and together mobile devices and tablet computers will see their DRAM market share nearly double from 14.1% to 26.7%, they added.

"Tablets have been growing in popularity since the iPad was introduced in 2010 at the cost of PCs, especially notebooks, with tablets being regarded as acceptable PC complements or substitutes," the firm explained. "And despite economic uncertainties worldwide, the tablet market continues to enjoy bright prospects ahead -- in part because of the ease of use and portability of the devices, and also because of the 'wow' factor associated with them."