Gartner: Samsung gains on Intel in semiconductor market

Semiconductor revenue will grow 31.5 percent this year compared to 2009, Gartner says

Worldwide semiconductor revenue is expected to go up this year, with Samsung gaining ground on top semiconductor company Intel in market share, Gartner said in a study released Wednesday.

Revenue is expected to reach a "landmark" US$300.3 billion in 2010, up 31.5 percent from 2009, according to preliminary results released by Gartner. The semiconductor market rebounded after the worldwide recession hurt chip revenue in 2009, when year-over-year revenue declined by 10 percent.

As the economy stabilized this year, semiconductors manufacturers quickly added capacity to meet the growing demand of parts from system makers. But semiconductor demand started weakening again starting in the third quarter this year, Gartner said.

Despite the late-year slowdown, this year will go down as a "banner year" for the semiconductor industry, said Stephan Ohr, semiconductor research director at Gartner, in the statement. Yearly semiconductor revenue worldwide has grown by more 30 percent only in 1988, 1995 and 2000, Ohr said.

The top semiconductor company was Intel, which received a boost from a surge in PC sales during the first two quarters of the year. Intel's semiconductor revenue was $41.34 billion, growing 24.6 percent, with a 13.8 percent market share. Intel held a 14.2 percent market share the previous year.

Overall market revenue this year was hurt by poor sales of netbooks, Gartner said. Most of the netbooks ship today with Atom chips from Intel.

Samsung, in second place, closed in on Intel by gaining market share. Samsung's revenue was $28.26 billion, growing by 59.8 percent, with a 9.4 percent market share. Samsung's revenue growth was partly driven by the strong DRAM and NAND flash markets, and memory accounted for 80 percent of the company's sales, Gartner said.

Other major semiconductor companies saw positive revenue growth this year. In third place was Toshiba, whose revenue totaled $12.38 billion, growing 28.9 percent. In close fourth was Texas Instruments, whose revenue was $12.36 billion, growing by 35.2 percent year-over-year.

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