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.
The WSTS data is useful for Market Share information provided you are comparing apples to apples AND you know the real sales numbers per category and companies participating. Some companies, even public ones, are not comfortable sharing much detail on their sales let alone a breakout of those sales by product category.
I prefer to know my market share by looking at how my design wins are increasing against my peer competition, and how that translates into increasing revenues. Do I know the exact number? NO... but I do know it is increasing.
The responsibilities of the company organization is to continue that trend as long as possible by providing true value to customers with their product offerings and solutions and support.
We have been trying to gather comments from the industry on this issue.
While industry officials try to downplay the significance of the news, this is an incredibly short-sighted move on the part of Intel.
The industry, when its stops collecting data of its own market, will start losing its power.
It starts losing its own voice -- against whatever unforeseeable battles/issues the industry would need to fight collectively.
Tell us your thoughts.
While this will make data collecting somewhat more difficult on a monthly basis, earnings reports and guidance will still likely be provided by Intel and AMD on a regular basis, so much of the data will still be there (although probably not in the format that the WSTS would like).
I just posted an opinion piece on this topic.
"Why it's wrong for Intel and AMD to abandon WSTS"
You can read it here:
Interesting but incomplete news report. I am sure AMD did not leave the Consortium in order to save $1700 per year. Diddo for Intel, even if their annual dues were a bit more. They must have been ticked off by some action of WSTS, or they see added value in not publisizing the stats. In either case, an in-depth interview with an Intel spokesman is in order here.
We all suspected that there must be something beyond "resource" issues, which AMD cited as a reason for their pulling out of WSTS.
Let's see if anyone can shed more light on this issue. (Yes, we will get to the bottom of this.)
Paying members including the "financial community" received the data upfront compared to "Joe SixPack".
Than look at the track record of analysts in regards to projecting INTC's quarterly results over the last two years - having access to the data didn't do much good unless they were BSing which is not completely out of the question.
Besides they never broke down in units and ASP for Joe SixPack - I bet you the analysts who paid $ had the data.
Intel still publishes pricing as far as I understand.
On one side its a loss - but on the other it provides a more leveled field.
Compared to TSMC sales data the data is trailing anyway.
Just check the TW data - plenty of hidden data - just like TSMC et al have to display capex in "real time".
When the largest chip maker leaves an organization, it is usually a kiss of death. Maybe Intel being the main supplier in its category felt it was too visible and competitors could deduce what the company's strategy was from the WSTS numbers. Intel does not need WSTS but WSTS needs Intel.
Let's see if anyone can shed more light on this issue. (Yes, we will get to the bottom of this.)
You're not up to date:
Updated: foundries opt out of chip manufacturing stats
(already forgotten? obviously I recommend to check your own stories)
10/21/2011 1:52 PM EDT
Asked why he thought the Taiwanese companies opted out of the program, McClean said it may be because TSMC and UMC represent such a huge portion of the world's foundry capacity and no longer wanted such detailed information on their manufacturing published each month.
Years ago, McClean noted, the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics organization stopped breaking out programmable logic statistics, mainly because two dominant firms, Xilinx Inc. and Altera Corp., had emerged in that area and no longer wanted to make available detailed information about their sales each month. McClean speculated that TSMC and UMC may have had similar feelings about the breakout of foundry manufacturing data, though, as he noted, both companies release detailed sales information on a monthly basis.
@the_floating_gate- thanks. We are aware of that story. But we are talking about completely different companies opting out of different programs. I will grant you that the reasoning for withdrawal is probably similar in both cases.
But the plot thickens on industry cooperation going down the drain. Based presumably on the withdrawal of TSMC, UMC and Nanya last year, the SIA said Wednesday it is ceasing the SICAs reports all together. If you ask me, this is a real shame.
The reality is that the SIA organization has been on a downward spiral for a long time now. Most of the growth in number of companies is coming from the fabless and IP area which the SIA has not tracked consistently or with any meaningful granularity.
For Intel, AMD, and Xilinx the move away makes sense. Why should they share their company information when the weight of their business is exposed in the SIA numbers? There is no benefit to these companies when they own a large part of their respective markets and the SIA subsidizes the information to their competition. Additionally, the categories that SIA still tracks are so archaic that it has no relevance to the structure of the market today.
The analyst and financial community that have been so reliant on the numbers must now do their own research once again to add value and maintain credibility. My team moved away nearly 10 years ago from SIA and conducts our own bottoms up research on semiconductor companies. Most of the companies in the semiconductor and system universe rely on our data. It's time for a new organization to emerge that is more in tune with the dynamics of our business.
Accuracy has also been a issue with the SIA data as a growing portion of companies were modeled especially the emerging players in Asia and the large dinosaurs in Japan.
Quality and integrity in the data matters to users, not just frequency
AMD & Intel pull data?
AMD losing share blowing antitrust case. Knows Intel market rigging and model for determining supply into future time.
Intel’s gaining share. Does not want to attract attention surpassing 81% including embedded.
Last time I observed such silencing 1989. Computer Supplier’s ad spend went dark in CRN. Right before Intel Inside morphed into metered price discrimination.
Intel expansion toward foundry seems another reason likely urgent.
Discontinuous memory innovation is a concern. Micron is a more efficient fabricator. Yet this leading memory, materials, fabrication aspect at inflection of physics goes beyond Micron.
Some picked up WSTS to project Intel revenue; since 1997. SEC is investigating use of analytics.
Intel supply data is used for projecting procurement of product routes for margin values into future time. So at inflection point in physics why doesn’t Intel want to report data?
Masking data makes Intel hard to see. Except for those who own a pair of special glasses which is the quantitative model. Not having WSTS data will not stop savvy QUANTA players on their investment in Intel analytics.
Intel foundry targets a physical space others
have been competing at for a long time. For Intel to leap frog on 20 years monopolization speaks poorly for industrial social values and democratic capitalism.
I'm for Intel expanding their business. So long as Intel does not anoint, step on, infringe, limit, restrain, shift revenue among those who invest organically on best practices to compete there.
So the big challenge is not AMD and Intel report to WSTS, but defining how to govern, regulate command, control, monitor INTEL as process saturates to new competitive potentials.
Intel strategy is to push through molecular at process saturation so they own quantum on long time monopoly gaming. That can't happen. It would destroy what's meant to come naturally.