IHS: WINDOWS 8 WON'T SPUR A SURGE IN DRAM SHIPMENTS IN 4Q

     (The following press release from IHS was received by e-mail and was 
reformatted. The sender verified the statement.) 
In a Break from the Past, Windows 8 Will Not Spur a Surge in DRAM Shipments in 
Q4 
El Segundo, Calif. (Oct. 26, 2012)—Debuts of new PC operating systems (OS) from 
Microsoft Corp. always have generated double-digit percentage increases in 
quarterly DRAM shipments—until this year, when the rollout of Windows 8 is not 
expected to generate a significant rise, according to a new IHS iSuppli DRAM 
Market Brief Report from information and analytics provider IHS (NYSE: IHS).
Global DRAM bit shipments are expected to increase by only 8 percent in the 
fourth quarter compared to the third, and this lower growth number includes not 
only DRAM for PCs, but also in smartphones and tablets. Windows 8 is not 
expected to generate the kind of bump in DRAM shipments seen in the past partly 
because of its lean hardware requirements. Even more importantly, the arrival 
of Windows 8 is not likely to deliver a significant increase in PC shipments in 
the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.                  
“The release of a new Microsoft OS traditionally has been accompanied by more 
advanced system requirements, which then fuels growth in the DRAM market as 
more bits are shipped,” said Clifford Leimbach, analyst for memory demand 
forecasting at IHS. “However, starting with Windows 7 and continuing with 
Windows 8, Microsoft has taken a leaner approach with its operating systems, 
maintaining the same DRAM requirements as before. Meanwhile, consumers are 
continuing to eschew new PC purchases in the fourth quarter, with Windows 8 not 
expected to change this situation.” 
DRAM bonanza
The release of a new OS is traditionally accompanied by more advanced system 
requirements, which then fuel growth in the DRAM market as more DRAM bits are 
shipped out. At such times, DRAM shipments grow because of increased orders 
from PC original equipment manufacturers that need to put the additional memory 
into their products, as stipulated by the requirements of the new OS. Many 
consumers also decide that the release of a new operating system represents a 
good time to purchase a new computer or to upgrade their memory, driving 
further DRAM sales.                                                              
For instance, the release of Windows 3.1 caused DRAM bit shipments to increase 
by 29 percent sequentially in the first quarter of 1992, compared to just a 12 
percent climb in the earlier quarter.  A similar heady expansion was seen with 
Windows 95 in light of a 23 percent advance during the fourth quarter of 1995. 
Prior to the surge, DRAM bit shipments had been growing on average by 11 to 14 
percent in the previous four quarters.                                           
An even bigger rise in DRAM bit shipments took place at the time of Windows 98. 
DRAM bit shipments rose 40 percent in the third quarter of 1998 at the time of 
the new OS, compared to bit shipment growth of 4 to 16 percent in the earlier 
four quarters.                                                                   
Two of the biggest upward movements in DRAM bit shipments occurred around the 
time that Windows 2000 and Windows XP were introduced. Compared to their 
previous-quarter levels, DRAM bit shipments jumped 49 percent in the first 
quarter of 2000 due to Windows 2000, while DRAM bit shipments swelled 41 
percent in the third quarter of 2001 because of Windows XP.                      
The exuberant expansion started to slow down, however, in the last two Windows 
operating systems. Only a 24 percent rise in DRAM bit shipments resulted with 
Windows Vista in the first quarter of 2007. Windows 7, which did not require 
more memory to operate than the previous member of the Windows line, saw a 
further attenuation in growth, to just 18 percent in the fourth quarter of 
2009. DRAM growth at the time also was slowing perceptibly, coinciding with the 
start of the economic recession.  
The end of the OS DRAM boom
Now with Windows 8, scheduled for release on October 26, DRAM bit growth in the 
market has decelerated even more. Shipments of DRAM are expected to increase by 
8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 —the lowest rate of growth among all 
Windows operating systems dating to Windows 3.1, covering a span of more than 
20 years. Instead of additional DRAM for computers purely due to higher DRAM 
requirements, the increased uptake of the memory will be found in smartphones 
and tablets and refreshed PCs combined, accounting for the gain of DRAM bit 
shipments in the fourth quarter. 
PCs no longer dominate DRAM market
All told, PCs will not be as important to the overall DRAM market moving 
forward. PC share in the DRAM space dipped below 50 percent for the first time 
earlier this year, while alternative devices using DRAM—such as smartphones and 
media tablets—are raising their usage and DRAM market share.                     
As DRAM enters an era of diversified applications, the lack of a boost from a 
new operating system will prove less significant. And while the highs to be 
derived from increased DRAM bit shipments won’t be as dramatic from quarter to 
quarter, the lows will also be more muted because of the extenuating effects of 
a disparate application base, IHS believes. 
For more information, please contact: 
Jonathan Cassell
Senior Manager, Editorial
jonathan.cassell@ihs.com
Direct: + 1 408 654 1714
Mobile: + 408 921 3754 
Or 
IHS Media Relations
press@ihs.com
+1 303 305 8021 
(kgt)NY 
 
 
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