NEC Planning to Ease USB 3.0 Chip Prices

Paul Lilly

While Intel continues to ignore our plea to jump on the USB 3.0 bandwagon and get the SuperSpeed spec rolling in full force, NEC is taking matters into its own hands and will reportedly cut prices for its first- and second-gen USB 3.0 chips in 4Q10. These are being described as "significant" price cuts, while the company's next-gen SuperSpeed chips will start shipping in the first quarter of 2011 for less than $2 a piece.

NEC, which currently holds a 90 percent share of the USB 3.0 market, is just one of several manufactures pushing SuperSpeed chips into motherboard makers' hands. ASMedia (an Asus subsidiary), VIA, Etron, and Fresco Logic have all introduced price cuts of their own, with ASMedia dipping all the way down to $1.7 per chip for bulk orders.

As for next-gen USB 3.0 parts, NEC's upcoming chips will reportedly feature higher performance, lower power consumption, and mainstream price points. There's talk that this pricing strategy will cut into NEC's profits, but the bulk of that will be offset from IP licensing fees, including that from bigwig clients like AMD, Intel, and Microsoft.

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