Dataquest Predicts: Intel puts its money behind Rambus

The technology road map for DRAM manufacturers will be dictated by Intel and Rambus technology, according to leading chip analysts.

Speaking at Dataquest's Predicts '99 conference in Paris, senior Dataquest analyst Richard Gordon foresees a revolution in DRAM technology and with Intel putting its money behind Direct Rambus technology, he believes 60 percent of total DRAM shipments will be Rambus by 2002.

"Rambus is the only technology available that will get its [Intel] microprocessors to market," Gordon said.

He remains optimistic about the near future of the DRAM market, predicting a revenue peak of $43bn (£27bn) in 2001, although this will be followed by another price crash in 2002.

"Manufacturers must assume that the boom/bust cycle is here to stay and that supply and demand are never in balance for long," he said.

Gordon believes Siemen's sell-off of Infineon will be positive and keep the semiconductor company in the top 5 manufacturers. Two months ago, Siemens spun off its semiconductor division in order to float Infineon Technologies on the stock market. According to Siemens, Infineon is the world's 10th largest semiconductor manufacturer by size.

Samsung, Micron and NEC will continue to dominate the market, although Gordon predicts Taiwanese manufacturers "could hit the market at boom and will be one to watch".

Not everyone will be winners in the volatile DRAM industry, however. With Motorola quitting the market in 1997, Gordon is predicting "another Japanese vendor may exit this year". With Fujitsu at the bottom of the top ten -- with only 4.6 percent market share -- industry watchers will be asking questions about how long the semiconductor firm can last.