With Intel holding back USB 3.0 support on its own chipsets until sometime in 2011, or even further, NEC has been able to capitalize on the slowly but steady adoption from manufacturers. Pretty much every motherboard we've seen sporting 'SuperSpeed' connectivity used one of NEC's controller chips, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that they've garnered an impressive majority of the market -- 90% according to a report by DigiTimes.
But the company is not ready to rest on its laurels, though. Apparently NEC is planning to significantly cut prices on its first- and second-generation USB 3.0 controllers, while introducing a faster and lower consumption chip in the first quarter of next year for less than $2. The move comes as Taiwan-based chipmakers ASMedia (a subsidiary of Asus), Etron, and Via are entering the market with aggressive price points.
ASMedia is already offering USB 3.0 controllers, priced at $1.7-1.8 for batch orders, while VIA has unveiled its VL800 chip which can control up to four USB 3.0 ports -- two more than NEC's. However, since all three are still awaiting certification by USB-IF, their USB 3.0 chips are unlikely to show up in products until December 2010 or January 2011.
NEC's price cut strategy will help it secure a few more deals in the meantime, and though it's expected to hurt the company's profits, income from IP licensing fees to the likes of Intel, AMD and Microsoft should help cover the losses.