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Intel Corps semiconductor leadership under threat from Samsung

19 April 2011 | By Mark Osborne | News > Fab Management

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Final market share rankings from IHS iSuppli for 2010, highlights that Intel’s semiconductor leadership is finally under threat from Samsung. According to the market research firm, second ranked IC manufacturer Samsung held 9.2% share of global IC revenue, while Intel, long-ranked market share leader had exited 2010 with 13.3% global share, only 4.1 percentage points ahead of Samsung. In 2001 Intel’s market share was 14.9%, while Samsung’s sat at 3.9%.

“The rise of Samsung is one of the biggest stories of the last decade in the worldwide semiconductor market,” said IHS analyst Dale Ford. “When experts discuss competition for Intel, they almost always focus on Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD). While it is true that AMD is Intel’s major competitor in the microprocessing unit (MPU) market, Samsung is the primary rival of Intel for overall semiconductor market share. And although they are mainly indirect competitors in the marketplace, Intel and Samsung have been ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, for a number of years.”

The boom in memory sales was a key driver for Samsung last year. According to IHS iSuppli, DRAM revenue increased 75% while NAND flash, grew 38.6% for the year. Samsung is the market leader in both memory segments, achieving sales growth of 59.1%, while the industry increased sales to US$304.1 billion in 2010, up 32.1% from US$230.2 billion in 2009.

Much of the rankings movement was down to memory manufacturers doing well last year. For Micron, the combination of strong memory market growth and its acquisition of Numonyx propelled Micron up five places into the Top 10 to be ranked eighth.

Hynix Semiconductor of South Korea and Japan’s Elpida Memory expanded their share of the total market by 1.1%, 0.7% and 0.4%, respectively. Hynix and Elpida achieved revenue expansion of 66.2% and 63.3%, respectively—the largest increase among Top 20 semiconductor companies based entirely on organic growth.

Elpida therefore jumped up four ranking positions in 2010 to eleventh, while Hynix advanced one place to sixth.

Another reason for rankings movement was mergers. The merger between Renesas Technology and NEC Electronics meant that Renesas went up in the rankings from ninth in 2009 to fifth last year.

Maxim Integrated Products, Marvell Technology Group, Elpida Memory, Broadcom Corp. and Xilinx actually made the biggest strides in the Top 25 market rankings for 2010.

Maxim jumped six places to No. 24, followed by Marvell climbing five places to No. 18. The rest moved up four places, with Broadcom moving into the Top 10 for the first time. All five companies, driven primarily by organic growth, expanded their revenues between 36% and 63.3% in 2010.

Texas Instruments increase revenue by 34.4% and Analog Devices by 36.9%. Infineon Technologies saw sales climb 41.8% and Panasonic by 52.5%. Infineon’s revenue for 2010 still includes the wireless business it sold to Intel at the start of 2011.

NXP, which sold its set-top box business lines to Trident Microsystems in 2010, also delivered a healthy performance with 24.3% growth.

According to IHS iSuppli there were several firms that lagged behind the rest. MediaTek had flat revenue, Qualcomm’s growth was only 12.4% and nVidia achieved revenue growth of only 13.1%

The result was that Qualcomm slipped from No. 6 to No. 9, and MediaTek fell from 16th to 19th in the rankings. nVidia was able to hang on to its No. 20 spot. AMD and Sony also fell in the rankings by four positions each, as their overall revenue growth significantly lagged market growth.


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