LONDON – Qualcomm and Broadcom showed significant sales growth in 2012 and improved their position among the top 10 chip vendors as ranked by sales, according to market research firm Gartner Inc.
Those two firms--now ranked third and ninth, respectively in chip sales—joined second-ranked Samsung as the only three companies in the top 10 to grow sales. All the others—including market leader Intel—experienced a fall in sales as the global market fell to $299.9 billion, down 2.6 percent from $307.8 billion 2011, according to Gartner.
Qualcomm jumped three places to third and Broadcom one place to ninth (see table below). Both are fabless chip companies. Gartner does not include foundries in its ranking, unlike IC Insights (see Qualcomm, GloFo star in chip supplier ranking).
Gartner said the top 25 semiconductor vendors' revenue declined slightly faster, at 2.8 percent, than the industry as a whole and accounted for almost the same portion of the industry's total revenue—68.9 percent in 2012, compared with 69.0 percent in 2011.
Intel recorded a 3.1 percent revenue decline, due to its focus on the beleaguered personal computer market and falls in PC shipments. However, it retained the topmarket share position for the 21st year in a row. Samsung was held back by weak memory markets in 2012 although its overall revenue increased due to production of ASICs and application-specific standard products for the booming smartphone and tablet computer markets.
Qualcomm, the fastest-growing semiconductor company in Gartner's top 25, benefits from a leading position in application processors with integrated basebands for smartphones. Its sales increased 31.8 percent in 2012 to $13.2 billion.
Gartner's global chip market numbers are slightly lower than those quoted by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics organization, which put the market at $299.5 billion in 2011 and falling by 2.7 percent to $291.6 billion in 2012.
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Top 10 semiconductor vendors ranked by revenue, worldwide, 2012 (Millions of dollars). Source: Gartner (April 2013).
The biggest problem in Intel is their skin deepth marketing. They sold Xscale department to Marvell with a very cheap price four years ago and now they paid unbelieveable price to acquire Infenion, why? Intel is panic now but their bureaucracy blocked at their roadmap. Intel tried to restrucking to a turn-key ASIC solution provider but the point is where to find big customers? Apple? No, Apple is stucked at Samsung and Apple will not pull out from Samsung because Apple really wants AMOLED screen made by Samsung. Nokia? No, Nokia is not big enough at this time for Intel. Whom else? I dont, you tell me.
Intel was selling the PXA processors for less than cost but they need to get in the wireless and tablet spaces with their products. Their earlier efforts at diversifying their product portfolios went poorly because it's simply more efficient to make a lot of a few IC products like with PCs. Your margins drop when you have a big mix of low volume products. Buying Infineon is a desperate effort to become a wireless chip company. After all, look who's gaining every year. Look who has the highest market cap. Qualcomm. Intel has a good IC process but they need good chips. They will have something.
They're all under pressure now. Next year when the competition increases, they are going to get squeezed on their margins. TI must be feeling it. They have some good power management parts for the wireless space but that's not where the margins are.