Intel was not the pioneer as some mistaken reviewers say on some less fortunate websites. It was Samsung, Indilinx, Mtron, and a few others. The flash technology was first developed by Toshiba and Intel.
Since Intel likes to sell their high-end desktop CPU products at over US$1,000 and low-end (budget or value or whatever you like to call) processors at under US$50, they have tried to do the same thing regarding SSD's.
I bought some 32GB Mtron SSL NAND-based SSD's at a liltte over US$100 per unit a few years ago. Some months, or one or two years later, Intel introduced SLC SSD lines along with MLC SSD lines. Unlike Mtron and Samsung, Intel was selling SLC drives at like five times the prices of MLC drives. Samsung Electronics also had both SLC drives and MLC drives, but Samsung's price differences were not over 100%, and closer to 50%. OCZ followed Intel's pattern. That's why almost every SSD review in the West seemed to make readers believe there are only MLC-based SSD's and SLC's too expensive to use in consumer drives. Lots of people I have known since the late 1990s have used SLC drives since around 2005~2007 when a typical SSD capacity was between 16GB and 128GB, and it was only SLC for many of them.
Unlike the CPU business, Intel cannot lead the other manufacturers to follow their pricing strategies. Intel's NAND marketshare has rapidly fallen, to a point so low that it had to create a venture with Micron: the IMFT. Samsung sold their HDD business to Seagate. Seagate bought OCZ who bought Indilinx who either bought or stole technologies from Samsung. Since Seagate now wants to market SSD drives to compete more directly against Samsung, those former Samsung HDD engineers and Indilinx engineers at Seagate are going to worry more about their identities and loyalty. Some of the former Samsung HDD business unit remained at Samsung. Those moving to Seagate were offered much higher salaries, but they are now saying average Samsung employees receive more than average Apple employees. Here's another article.
Micron and a few other companies were also in talks with OCZ about a potential acquisition. The financial aspects of the deal could also prove quite interesting. Our sources believe that Seagate plans to offer much more than $308.5 million that Nasdaq values OCZ (OCZ). Just to put things in perspective Nasdaq values Seagate (STX) at $11.71 billion.
Just to put the larger picture in perspective, Indilinx was almost for free and Samsung Electronics is expected to have US$30 billion annual profits. Its largest customer Apple has more than US$100 billion in cash.
SSD Shipment Forecast - iSuppli
The three largest SSD makers are Intel (1), Samsung (2), and Toshiba (3), but it is possible Samsung actually ships more units as some of the OEM shipments may not be correctly reflected in statistics of iSuppli.
The four largest NAND flash makers are Samsung (1), Toshiba (2), Micron (3), and Hynix (4) - now of SK that also has SK Telecom.
The four largest mobile DRAM makers are Samsung (71%), Hynix (15%), Elpida (9%), and Micron (4%).