Apple’s iCloud to threaten future NAND demand?

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Apple's newly launched iCloud storage service could significantly weaken future NAND demand, according to a new report by market research firm, IHS.

Analysts believe the adoption of cloud storage could have significant implications, because the fastest growing segment of the NAND flash market lies in the storage component of convergent mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. "With Apple products accounting for a disproportionate share of NAND flash demand, any move among Apple users to offload storage to the company's iCloud service could mean a corresponding decrease in demand for physical NAND flash memory," said memory analyst Dee Nguyen. "Apple's huge database of users could make a serious dent on NAND flash demand throughout the industry." Driven by best selling products like the iPad and iPhone, Apple is expected to remain the world's largest buyer of NAND flash memory this year, accounting for nearly 30% of global demand. Shipments of NAND flash memory for various Apple products are anticipated to reach 5.2billion gigabyte equivalent units in 2011, out of a total global market of 18.5bn gigabyte equivalent units. Apple's share of 28.3% represents the single largest block of NAND flash consumption by one company. IHS believes Apple's portion of the market will continue to climb during the following years and remain at 29% for the next two years. Its share is then expected to deline somewhat by 2015, but still account for 23.9bn gigabyte equivalent units, or one quarter of overall industry NAND demand.