SAN FRANCISCOSix of the top 10 semiconductor companies are expected to suffer revenue declines in 2008, with the broader industry hamstrung by a "disastrous" year for the memory chip segment, according to market research firm iSuppli Corp.'s preliminary rankings of the top 20 chip suppliers for the year.
Of the six companies that are expected to see revenue declines, three are not focused on memory: Texas Instruments Inc., Renesas Technology Corp. and Sony Corp., iSuppli said. The other top 10 suppliers expected to endure revenue declines are Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Toshiba Corp. and Hynix Semiconductor Inc., the firm said.
"Global semiconductor revenue is expected to decline by 2 percent in 2008 due to a 16.9 percent plunge in sales of memory integrated circuits (ICs)," said Dale Ford, iSuppli's senior vice president of market intelligence services, in a statement.
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Only two of the 29 memory suppliers with expected 2008 revenue of $100 million or more will see memory IC revenue growth in 2008, according to Ford. "For the memory IC business, 2008 can only be described as disastrous," he said.
If memory revenue was excluded from the total semiconductor market, the remaining chip industry would grow by 2 percent in 2008, according to iSuppli's preliminary estimate. Memory will account for 17.9 percent of global semiconductor revenue in 2008, according to the firm.
"In the face of increasingly negative economic news, orders for semiconductors have virtually stopped, leading to great fear and uncertainty throughout the entire semiconductor industry," Ford said.
This year will mark the second consecutive annual revenue contraction in global memory revenue, following a 3.9 percent decline in 2007, iSuppli said. Every memory segment will decline in 2008: DRAM is expected to decline by 19.8 percent, NOR flash by 16.2 percent, SRAM by 16.1 percent and NAND flash by 13.1 percent, iSuppli said. This will be the first time in the history of the NAND market that revenue will decline on an annual basis, iSuppli said.