SAN FRANCISCO—Texas Instruments Inc. remained in firm control atop the analog IC market in 2010, with $6.2 billion in sales, good for nearly 15 percent of the total analog IC market revenue of $42.29, according to a report circulated Thursday (March 24) by market research firm Databeans Inc.
TI's analog sales increased 42 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, lengthening the company's lead over the No. 2 player in the market, STMicroelectronics NV, Databeans said. ST had analog sales for the year of $4.3 billion.
Most of TI’s analog demand came from industrial markets, which were especially strong, while consumer demand cooled, impacting markets such as computing and televisions, Databeans said. High=performance analog products, along with HVAL and power management, accounted for most of TI’s fourth quarter analog growth, Databeans said.
TI also raised its inventory by more than 25 percent in the fourth quarte, to $1.5 billion, up from $1.2 billion in the comparable 2009 quarter, Databeans said. The research firm said it expects TI to continue to build inventory.
Over the past year, TI's strategy has been to use its significant cash reserves to build new fabs, buy out other companies’ fabs, and increase its sales and engineering forces in China and India, according to Databeans. Last year, TI bought two fabs from Spansion (one empty) and started to ramp up its large RFAB 300-mm analog fab in Richardson, Texas. (The equipped 200-mm fab that TI bought from Spansion suffered some damage in the March 11 earthquake in Japan and is expected to be back in full production by mid April).
The completion of Phase II at RFAB will provide the capability for an additional $2 billion of analog revenue per year, Databeans said. The firm noted that TI claims it added enough manufacturing capacity last year to support $5 billion a year in new sales.
"These moves helped TI increase its market share in analog even further ahead of its competitors," Databeans said in a statement. "When many firms were still scrambling just to survive the recession, TI used the downturn to replenish its inventory, return product lead times to normal and ramp up production quickly with its three new fabs. As markets began to grow again, the company was well positioned to pounce on returning consumer demand."
Databeans said TI learned a "difficult lesson" a couple years ago when OEM requests for lead times for analog ICs skyrocketed. In some cases TI’s lead times grew to six or more months for certain products, in comparison to normal levels of around 6 to 8 weeks, Databeans said. "In response, TI went on a buying binge, buying up fabs during the recession, many at a discount, and building up the buffer inventory it needed to reduce its lead times," Databeans said.
Databeans (Reno, Nev.) said TI should continue to succeed with its strategy in analog in the near term, but that in the long term a dramatic rise in inventory could be dangerous and put pressure on average selling prices industry wide.