Samsung continued its relentless expansion in the SSD market last year as it boosted its market share from 23.2% in 2012 to 28.5% in 2013. The figures produced by analytics firm Gartner reveal some potentially worrying trends for the SSD market. The SSD market is now tending towards an oligopoly as the five biggest vendors increased their market share from 55.4% in 2012 to 65.8% in 2013.
With Micron, SanDisk and Samsung all doing so well, who lost out? Well aside from Intel, Toshiba has also taken a fairly sizeable hit. However, the real losers are the “others” category: that’s SSD manufacturers who mainly rely on (all or some) parts produced by other vendors. These brands include Kingston, OCZ (now defunct and owned by Toshiba), Corsair, G.Skill and PNY among many others. Of course OCZ are now part of Toshiba meaning that they make their own NAND and controllers but many other brands will be forced out of the market by the “big boys” like Samsung, Intel, SanDisk, Micron and Toshiba who can all make the majority of their own parts such as the controllers, NAND, DRAM cache and firmware required for an SSD product. The advantage of making it yourself mean you have a stable reliable supply and can produce it for the cheapest cost, not to mention certain vendors may simply stop supplying parts to rival companies when things really hot up. We’ve already heard rumours that Micron may stop selling its NAND to rival SSD vendors, or reduce supply at the very least.
Image #1 courtesy of Samsung, image #2 and #3 courtesy of Gartner