SAN FRANCISCO—Intel Corp. confirmed Tuesday (Feb. 28) it is no longer a member of the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization, a non-profit organization which publishes monthly reports about global chip sales.
Intel's decision, first reported by the Wall Street Journal Tuesday, follows the exit from WSTS of rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) late last year.
The WSTS's monthly sales report is a widely used metric for chip sales. Groups such as the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and market research firms use the WSTS data to gauge the health of the chip industry. Without the sales data supplied by Intel and AMD, the WSTS will presumably need to estimate the firm's sales to provide data on the microprocessor market and the total semiconductor market.
"From time to time we evaluate organizations where we have membership and make decisions about our needs and the benefits of that membership," said an Intel spokesman in an email exchange Tuesday. "We decided the WSTS was no longer a fit for us."
On its website, WSTS claims 62 member companies that represent more than 75 percent of the global semiconductor market. The withdrawal of Intel, the world's biggest chip maker, would presumably alter these figures. The website also claims that the world's top 20 chip makers are all members, a group that would include both Intel and AMD.
The Wall Street Journal reported that some analysts believe Intel concluded the WSTS data was no longer valuable to the company after the withdrawal of AMD, it's only meaningful competitor in the PC microprocessor space. Intel accounts for more than 80 percent of global microprocessor sales.
A spokesman for AMD confirmed via email that the company left the WSTS late last year. "We are always evaluating our membership in industry associations and trade groups and made the decision last year to not renew our members with WSTS," the spokesman said.
It is unclear how the withdrawal of Intel and AMD from the WSTS will impact the reports that the organization generates. The Wall Street Journal reported that the group's administrator, Bernd Schniggenfittig, said the organization uses a variety of techniques to estimate sales for companies that do not report data.
Bill McClean, president of market research firm IC Insights Inc., said in an email exchange with EE Times that the withdrawal of Intel and AMD would leave an enormous hole in microprocessor data published by the WSTS, though he added it would have minimal impact on the rest of the data published by the organization. "Intel and AMD represent about 90 percent of the MPU market and, without them, it will be pure guessing," McClean said.
"My feeling is that this could result in the demise of the WSTS as a viable source of monthly industry sales data," said veteran IC market analyst Mike Cowan. "Time will tell."
Cowan said it should be interesting to see what January's global chip sales look like without Intel's participation. The WSTS is currently scheduled to report January sales numbers on March 7.
Schniggenfittig could not immediately be reached by EE Times for comment. An SIA spokeswoman said she could not comment until she had conferred with the WSTS.
WSTS members pay for membership on a sliding scale, based on revenue. AMD, with 2011 revenue of $6.57 billion, would pay $1,700 for an annual membership, according to data on the WSTS site. The site does not list the cost of membership for companies with sales of more than $10 billion, which would apply to Intel.