More winners: Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm
Three mobile systems giants were the big winners in 2012—Apple, Samsung and Qualcomm.
Even without its legendary co-founder, the Apple juggernaut continued the momentum it set with the 2007 launch of the iPhone that set the already overheated smartphone market on fire. Its 2010 iPad was like the final nail in the coffin of the PC’s future.
Only two clouds are present on Apple’s horizon, one being simply whether any company can continue to manage growth on such a scale. The other is Android.
Samsung emerged as the leader of the alternative mobile ecosystem in 2012. No surprise then that Apple and Samsung had it out in a bare-fisted court fight in Apple’s back yard late in the year. Samsung walked away with a billion-dollar bruise, a relatively small wound for a company outgrowing the Cupertino wunderkind in smartphone sales.
Arms supplier Qualcomm continued to rise in the semiconductor rankings through the year. Its only impediment to growth was in getting enough access to 28 nm process technology to make all the chips it could sell.
Among the second tier, Globalfoundries emerged as the strongest rival to TSMC in foundry services. It laid out an aggressive plan to get ahead of the game in process technology.
Meanwhile Mediatek saw its fortunes rise in 2012. It gained ground among China’s handset and TV makers and acquired rival MStar Semiconductor, positioning it as the emerging Broadcom/Qualcomm of Greater China.
Qualcomm, Globalfoundries gain in chip sales rankings
Samsung's Q3 smartphone shipments double Apple's
Yoshida in China: How Nokia failed, MediaTek won
Ten shifts in chips, comms: