NAND flash memory sales saw strong growth in the third quarter, with global revenue rising 37 percent to $4.2 billion from $3 billion during the same period in 2006. While Samsung and Toshiba took the top slots on iSuppli's preliminary ranking, the market research firm says Hynix, Micron, and Intel outperformed the competition. South Korea's Hynix achieved the strongest third-quarter growth with revenue jumping to $806 million, up almost 80 percent from $450 million in the second quarter. Micron was second in growth with revenues of $285 million, up 75.5 percent from $163 million from last quarter, and Intel came in third with a 48 percent jump to $132 million from $89 million last quarter. "Hynix’s big sequential jump in NAND revenue was due to its stunning unit shipment growth of 92 percent compared to the second quarter,"Nam Hyung Kim, director and chief analyst of memory ICs/storage systems for iSuppli, said in a statement. "Meanwhile, Micron’s and Intel’s explosive growth was due to the companies ramping up production at their NAND manufacturing joint venture: IM Flash Technologies LLC (IMFT)." Even though Samsung again took the top slot of the rankings, the leading NAND flash supplier fell short of the industry's average growth rate and saw a decline in market share. Its NAND revenue was up 21 percent to $1.7 billion from $1.4 billion in the second quarter, but market share declined to 40.2 percent from 45.4 percent last quarter. Second-ranking Toshiba maintained its market share of 27.2 percent, and the top three suppliers — which also included Hynix — took a combined 87 percent market share. Hot Flash Demand for NAND flash was strong in the third quarter, contrasting markedly with the weak performance in the DRAM segment, according to iSuppli. While global NAND flash revenue jumped 37 percent quarter-over-quarter, global DRAM revenue fell 14 percent in the same period. The per-megabyte Average Selling Price (ASP) of NAND flash rose 5 percent over the second quarter, marking the second consecutive quarter of price increases for the flash memory. Kim says the market's success is based on strong seasonal consumer–electronics demand from products like Apple’s iPod, as well as high supply growth. However, iSuppli warns that the growth streak is coming to an end in the fourth quarter. The research firm expects the NAND flash megabyte ASP to decline by 18 percent this quarter, while megabyte-unit shipments will increase by 37 percent. The consecutive price surges will turn into consecutive price drops during the next two quarters, iSuppli predicts, due to increased production capacity, which will increase availability and drive down pricing.