NEW YORK— The worldwide analog semiconductor market is on track this year to grow 5.1 percent, increasing at a slower clip than the overall semiconductor industry, according to a market report from Semico Research Corp.
Revenue is expected to reach $44.48 billion, compared with $42.34 billion in 2011. Semico, however, forecasts stronger growth in 2013 with revenue exceeding $50 billion, putting the growth rate in the double-digits at 12.6 percent.
Analog revenue is heavily weighted to communications products, but there are several market growth drivers, including automotive, energy, mobility and medical/healthcare.
"That’s a little bit lower than total semiconductor market—it's kind of disappointing," said Adrienne Downey, director of manufacturing research at Semico (Phoenix), adding that Semicon forecasts total semiconductor sales will grow 8.6 percent this year.
Still, sales in all of the analog chip segments, including amplifiers and comparators, interface, special consumer, power management, data conversion circuits and "other linear," are projected to show an upward sales trend this year and into 2013.
Data conversion circuits are expected to post the largest gains this year with sales growing 18.3 percent, to $3.2 billion, followed by interface chips with sales forecast to jump 14.3 percent, to $2.6 billion.
The "other linear" category is the largest segment, with 2012 sales expected to reach $17.4 billion compared with $16.9 billion the previous year. Power management is a distant second with anticipated 2012 sales of $9.6 billion versus $9.2 billion in 2011.
Market share leaders Texas Instruments was the top analog chip vendor again last year with 15 percent market share, increasing its position over 2010, when it accounted for 14 percent of the market. TI's analog chip sales jumped 6.6 percent, to nearly $6.4 billion. Meanwhile, STMicroelectronics NV placed second again with 10 percent of the market, even though its sales fell 3.7 percent to $4.2 billion. And Analog Devices Inc. earned the third spot again, with 6 percent of the overall market.
source: Semico Research Corp.
What surprised Downey the most in the report’s findings, however, is how little capacity was generated at the foundries in 2011. Approximately 71 percent of analog capacity was derived from the IDMs, while the remaining 29 percent came from the foundries. Downey thought that the split would have been more even.
"I think that the analog companies have kept things close to their chest. They are [requiring] more advanced technologies and they don’t have foundries to provide that. On the other side, volumes haven’t been there to make it worth their while," she said.
"That got a lot of companies nervous that they would have a cost-advantage to have that tool set and more die per wafer," Feldhan said. "The other factor that I think is helping driving the move is there’s a number of aging 300-mm fabs that are around, and they are starting to look at other products they can run in those fabs."
In November 2010, Maxim started producing 300-mm wafers using its 180-nm BCD analog process technology (S18) in Taiwan's Powerchip Technology Corp.'s wafer fab through a foundry agreement.
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.