LONDON – Boosted by its acquisition of Sanyo's semiconductor business, On Semiconductor registered a 49 percent sales increase in 2011 and moved into the top 25 chip companies, according to a ranking of companies by 2011 chip sales compiled by market research company IC Insights.
Qualcomm, spurred by a 73 percent increase in smartphone unit shipments last year, logged a 38 percent increase in semiconductor sales in 2011 and although Infineon was considerably smaller than in 2010 due to the sale of its wireless business unit to Intel, its growth from continuing operations was 29 percent, according to IC Insights. Many large memory companies suffered in 2011 with Micron, Hynix and Elpida all shrinking in size and Elpida registering a sales drop of 40 percent in dollar terms and 45 percent in yen, IC Insights (Scottsdale, Arizona) said.
Although 15 of the top 25 chip companies saw their sales diminish in 2011, the top 10 semiconductor suppliers grew 7 percent compared to 2010. Intel, through its Infineon acquisition, extended its lead as number one over Samsung which experienced a low growth of 3 percent.
The big climbers in the rankings were Qualcomm, up three places to seventh place and Nvidia up five spots to 18th due to growth in its graphics and communications processor business. Elpida fell six places from 13th in 2010 to 19th in 2011 as a collapse in the DRAM market put the existence of the company at risk.
Samsung has GROWTH in spite of a large % of their business is DRAM and flash. We all know that memory is cyclical. If you can do this well at the bottom of the cycle, it means you will MAKE BANK at the top of the cycle. Samsung is destroying rival electronics companies (Sony, Panasonic, etc) and cell phone makers (Motorola, Nokia, etc), so a big part of their semi success is due to the success of their internal customers. Perhaps this sets a ceiling on how well they can perform as a semi company?
Intel is still the biggest in sales which is still significant in both economy and technology. It is true that Samsung and TSMC are next to Intel but technologically they can't be compared. I still believe US has to keep on investing more on technology in order to keep the leadership role in the world economy.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.