Many thanks to my colleague Usman Pirzada from wccftech.com, who sent me a hot news in advance with his research in order to be able to publish it almost simultaneously. But what exactly is it all about? As early as May 2018, Micron introduced quad-level (QLC) NAND technology and, surprisingly, had to watch the shares rise to a price level of approx. 30 USD have fallen, so have lost almost half. This was ultimately due to the complex NAND pricing, including the known supply and demand factors, and not just the introduction of QLC.
Wccftech.com now wants to have received confirmation from several sources and stakeholders that Micron intends to introduce its brand new Octa Level (OLC) NAND either in the first quarter or at the latest in the second quarter of 2019, i.e. in the first quarter of 2019. Half! What would be so exciting about it? If Micron's Octa-Level OLC NAND memory is really available so soon, it would significantly exceed the speed of Moore's Law!
Particularly spicy: OLC NAND is not even publicly known yet and if you googling now, before the publication of the article, you wouldn't find it at all! This means that this news from wccftech.com reveals not only the schedule for the release of OLC NAND (in the first half of 2019), but also its existence.
Small review: The first form of NAND was SLC (Single-Level Cell), followed by MLC (Multi-Level Cell), then TLC (Tri-Level Cell) and finally QLC (Quad-Level Cell). SLC consisted of a single cell layer and had 1 bit per cell, while MLC consisted of two cell layers and 2 bits per cell (i.e. already a 100% increase in density per NAND cell). Similarly, TLC consists of 3 layers per cell and achieves a 50% increase in density, while the current QLC with 4 layers per cell now achieves a 33% increase in density.
According to the wccftech.com, Micron's new Octa-Level Cell (OLC) NAND technology will have a 100% density increase compared to QLC at 8 bits per cell and will also be the first technology to have approximately 1 byte per cell. This increase in density is something that goes far beyond Moore's law and would provide a boost to the industry, forcing competition to catch up as well. SSD prices for consumers will almost certainly improve significantly in the long term.
In view of the events following the introduction of the QLC, it is clear that this change in technology is likely to again be linked to price fluctuations in Micron's shares, and wccftech.com has therefore taken the opportunity to take an additional view of what several stakeholders are thinking about Micron's upcoming OLC NAND flash memory. The general consensus is quite interesting.
According to the respondents, there could be a NAND deficiency once OLC is introduced, which would lead to higher prices. These prices would return to normal in the medium term, only to fall below the original level. To understand how the markets might react to the OLC NAND, one has to look at the most important factors that had to do with the QLC crash at the time: namely, the flash and DRAM oversupply that prevailed at the time, including low prices, Micron's buyback of 5 billions of own shares and the introduction of QLC.
Given when the technology change will take place, there will be another period in which availability is likely to be tight, followed by normalization and rising profits, again followed by the share price, which is likely to appreciate significantly. (ceteris paribus). However, once Micron has launched its Octa-Level Cell NAND, there will be a gap where supply will not be sufficient to meet demand, as is usually the case. Only when the manufacturer has control of production and can start up will the situation be able to defuse dramatically again.
Micron's pricing is, of course, inextricably linked to flash and DRAM pricing, as well as the general supply and demand factors, logically. After the introduction of OLC, a significant improvement in the economic situation is forecast over the course of 6-9 months to the point where the old high of USD 60 is definitely to be reached again.