iSuppli: Top chipmakers widen gap in ’05, fabless firms move up

March 20, 2006 – 2005 may have been a soft year for semiconductor sales, but the perennial top three suppliers — Intel, Samsung, and Texas Instruments Inc. — all beat the industry’s overall growth to solidify their respective spots, according to final 2005 rankings from iSuppli Corp.

Global semiconductor sales grew 3.6% in 2005 to $237.1 billion, according to the El Segundo, CA-based analyst firm, following a robust 23.8% hike in 2004. Only four companies in the top 20 (Intel, Hynix, IBM, and fabless giant Broadcom) achieved double-digit growth during the year, while two companies (NEC, Matsushita Electric) swung to double-digit year-on-year declines in sales

Outpacing the crowd was Intel, posting 13% growth to expand its marketshare to 15% from 13.8%, thanks to 16% growth in microprocessor sales, as well as nearly holding NOR flash sales flat, vs. 5%-50% declines from other NOR flash competitors.

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (+9.2% sales growth) and Texas Instruments also performed better than the rest of the industry. Samsung had a mixed year for its memory-heavy lineup. NAND flash memory sales jumped more than 47% in 2005, a market in which it holds more than half of overall share, but still lost a few points as new entrants emerge to try and take a piece of the red-hot market. In DRAM, where the market slumped 6.2% in 2005, Samsung managed to hold its revenues to a 1% decline, noted Dale Ford, VP of market intelligence for iSuppli.

Top analog IC supplier TI grew revenues by about 5%, thanks to demand for digital signal processors, microcontrollers, and logic application-specific standard product (ASSP), noted Ford, although TI’s core analog sales were up just 0.6% year-on-year.

Recapturing the no. 4 and 5 spots, respectively, were Toshiba Corp. and STMicroelectronics, both of whom climbed the ladder by virtue of maintaining positive sales — former 4-5 tandem Infineon Technologies AG and Renesas fell out of the top five as their sales slumped 9.6% and 8.2%, respectively.

Elsewhere, AMD, which Ford stated took nearly 3% share from rival Intel in 2005, was ranked at no. 15 on the list, with its now spun-off Spansion memory unit at no. 24. Combined, they would have placed no. 8 in the rankings. Among fabless companies, Broadcom joins Qualcomm as fabless companies in the top 20 chip suppliers list. nVidia and ATI Technologies moved into the top 25 for the first time.


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