Western Digital has told investors and analysts that the flash storage market may have finally bottomed out, predicting that demand - and therefore pricing - will begin to improve as the company enters its 2020 financial year.
Memory pricing, for both volatile DRAM and non-volatile flash, has been falling dramatically since hitting impressive peaks in 2018. As of March this year the market was described as being in 'free-fall' conditions, with DRAMeXchange predicting a 25 percent drop in DRAM pricing to come and Gartner a more impressive 42 percent slide.
For buyers, it's a great time; for manufacturers, not so much. During its quarterly earnings call last night - in which the company reported a $3.6 billion quarterly revenue for a net loss of $197 million, down from a net income of $756 million for the same quarter a year prior - Western Digital claims the end may be in sight.
'We are seeing signs of improving conditions in the flash market,' WD chief executive Steve Milligan claimed during the call, 'and believe that it has reached a cyclical trough. With continuing expectations for a positive demand environment, a robust product portfolio and expanding customer engagements, we expect to deliver improving financial results as we move through fiscal 2020.'
If Milligan's prediction proves accurate, contract pricing for NAND flash and other forms of non-volatile solid-state storage are set to increase - which, in time, will filter through into the retail market. If Milligan is wrong, though, his company's losses will only increase from here.
October 18 2019 | 17:00