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Len Jelinek, iSuppli Corp.


Semiconductor investors and industry watchers began 2004 with high expectations. As they saw it, the chip market was a depressed sector that had a strong outlook and that promised increasing demand and limited supply. With bullish forecasts, rising average selling prices (ASPs) and increased profitability for chipmakers, what could go wrong? But before you could say déjà vu 2000, market conditions changed – and sentiment among industry participants quickly soured. In reaction to the industry’s radically changed landscape, many chip-industry mavens are wondering: What’s happening in 2004? Does slowing growth this year presage a major downturn in 2005 – as 2000 did for 2001? Have changes in chipmakers’ strategies that arose in reaction to the last downturn led to the alterations in market structure?

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