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Dodgy market forecast found again!

10 June 2008 | By Mark Osborne | Editor's Blog

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Many years ago, a market research report on the lithography equipment supplier market share positions stood out like a sore thumb because Canon’s share had suddenly shot up inexplicably. I wasn’t alone in seriously questioning the figures, as the then-news editor at European Semiconductor, Mike Cooke, also thought the figures were wrong and went off to do his own checking. 

The result was a glaring mistake by its author, Robert Castellano of The Information Network, who overstated Canon’s share because Canon had included FPD litho sales in the figures as well.

When you only have three lithography tool suppliers it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that something with the numbers is seriously skewed.

We haven’t reported on The Information Network’s research reports since then, and it is likely to remain that way after seeing the latest numbers thrown together to describe the semiconductor fab automation sector.

Like litho, AMHS has basically three suppliers, Asyst/Shinko, Daifuku and Murata. The majority of business is in 300mm fabs and we track those in a 300mm activity report. We therefore have a good sense of what AMHS is being used in each 300mm fab.

So regrettably, once again we see a major mismatch between our own data and that of this market research firm. Just to be sure, we made a few calls, double-checked our own data and, hey presto, Daifuku doesn’t have anywhere near the market share (41%) being touted.

Indeed, we, and others in the industry, have not seen a market share shift in several years, and even then the shift was definitely towards Asyst/Shinko.

Looking at current trends, Daifuku has the biz at Samsung, 50 percent of Intel and one 300mm fab at Chartered Semiconductor. Looking at Asyst/Shinko, they have Toshiba, TSMC, Elpida, PSC/Rexchip, and 50 percent of Intel.

No rocket scientist is required to decipher that market share numbers should favor Asyst/Shinko, especially when you consider they are servicing Toshiba’s monster fabs, the biggest AMHS projects ever undertaken.

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