(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
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.”
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
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:
Senior Manager, Editorial
Direct: + 1 408 654 1714
Mobile: + 408 921 3754
IHS Media Relations
+1 303 305 8021
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.