SAN FRANCISCO—Fabless chip giant Qualcomm Inc. and foundry vendor Globalfoundries Inc. are each expected to move up IC Insights Inc.'s list of the top 20 chip vendors as ranked by sales in 2012, according to the market research firm's latest forecast.
Both firms are expected to grow sales by at least 30 percent, according to IC Insights (Scottsdale, Ariz.). Qualcomm (San Diego) is on pace for 2012 revenue of more than $12.8 billion, fourth among all chip firms, up from seventh in 2011, according to the November Update to IC Insight's McClean Report. Meanwhile, Globalfoundries (Milpitas, Calif.) is on pace to move to No. 15 this year from No. 21 last year, with projected sales of $4.56 billion, according to the report.
Globalfoundries moved into the top 20 on IC Insights' rankings list for the first time in the first quarter. Three foundries are expected to rank among the top 20 on the market research firm's rankings list for the full year 2012—Globalfoundries, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC).
Combined, those three foundries are forecast to log a 16 percent increase in sales year, according to IC Insights. The firm expects that total global chip sales will be down 2 percent this year. Foundries are defying the market due to the continued success of the fabless-foundry model and the strong movement by many integrated device manufacturers toward a fab-lite model, IC Insights said. The firm expects foundries to see continued strong demand over the next few years.
Among the top five fastest growing chip firms this year, two are expected to be foundries—Globalfoundries and TSMC—and three are expected to be fabless companies—Qualcomm, Nvidia Corp. and Broadcom Corp.—according to IC Insights.
Are things really as grim for the semiconductor industries in Japan and Europe as these figures imply?
These numbers also suggest that the overall buzz surrounding Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries is truly warranted.
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.