Intel kept global chip crown in 2008, AMD fell from top ten

Intel kept the title of world's largest chip maker last year, while rival AMD dropped from the top ten.

Microprocessor maker Intel retained its title of world's largest chip maker last year, while rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) fell from the top ten, according to market researcher iSuppli.

Only a handful of chip makers in the top 25 managed to increase revenue last year as consumer demand slumped amid a global recession. The story of the year for chip makers was that large companies performed worse overall than their smaller rivals, said iSuppli.

Intel commanded a 13.1 percent share of global chip industry revenue last year, according to iSuppli, despite a slight year-over-year drop in revenue to US$33.8 billion.

Samsung Electronics, Intel's closest competitor, remained in second place by taking a 6.5 percent share of global chip market revenue, despite a big drop in prices for its main products, DRAM and NAND flash memory.

Intel's main processor market rival, AMD, was the only chip maker that made the top 10 in 2007 to fall off that chart last year. The company's revenue fell 7.8 percent in 2008 to $5.46 billion, as AMD dropped to 12th place globally, from 10th a year earlier.

Texas Instruments (TI) also dropped a place, to fourth from third, amid stronger competition in the mobile phone chip sector. Toshiba took over third place, swapping with TI.

iSuppli noted that several Japanese chip makers benefitted in the poll from a significantly stronger Japanese currency versus the US dollar.

Qualcomm was a major reason for TI's decline, as the company expanded its share of the mobile phone chip sector. The company leaped to 8th place from 13th a year earlier as its revenue expanded 15.3 percent to US$6.48 billion.

Hynix Semiconductor suffered the worst revenue decline last year due to the DRAM chip glut. The company fell to 9th place from 6th in 2007 as its revenue dropped by nearly a third, according to iSuppli.

Many of the other companies that posted revenue declines last year were hit hardest in the fourth quarter, iSuppli said.

"The final results show that the market experienced a significant and broad-based decline of 21.5 percent in the fourth quarter," iSuppli said, compared to the market researcher's November prediction of an 8.8 percent drop in the quarter.

Global chip revenue declined 5.2 percent last year to US$258.30 billion, according to iSuppli, from US$272.57 billion a year earlier.

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Dan Nystedt

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