EETimes.com – Which chip makers will rule in 2018?

EETimes.com – Which chip makers will rule in 2018?.

Which chip makers will rule in 2018?
SAN JOSE, Calif. — There have been a number of changes in the top 10 chip rankings over the last 30 years.In 1978, Texas Instruments Inc. and Motorola Inc. were the top two chip companies, followed by NEC Corp. and Hitachi Ltd.. In 1988, Japanese companies occupied the top 3 spots. Ten years later, Intel Corp. was No. 1, where it remains today. (See chart below)

Which companies will be in the top 10 in 2018? Not a startup or a broadline supplier, according to an analyst.

”I think it is safe to say Intel and Samsung will be there,” said Bill Jewell, principal of Semiconductor Intelligence LLC (Dallas), a research firm.

”A few other current top 10 companies should make the list, although some of them could be in other forms due to mergers or other combinations. A few new companies should make the top 10 by 2018 from the ranks of today’s number 11 to 50,” he said.

”Could a new company not ranked today be in the top 10 by 2018? Not likely; even though companies in this industry can grow quickly, it would be extremely difficult for a company in less than ten years to go from startup to the $10 billion or so in revenue required to make the top 10 in 2018,” he said.

It is also unlikely a broadbased chip maker will rule in 2018. ”The key trend over the last 30 years is not the country in which the companies are based. All of the top 10 companies are multinational. The key trend is the disappearance of the broadline semiconductor company,” he said.

”In 1978, all top 10 companies were basically broadline semiconductor suppliers. Of the 2008 top 10, only Toshiba and Infineon can be considered broadline suppliers,” he said. ”Several companies which were formerly broadline are now focused on a few product areas: Intel — MPU; TI — analog and DSP; ST — application specific analog and logic. Samsung and Hynix are primarily memory companies. Sony mostly supplies consumer ICs, largely for internal use. Qualcomm is a wireless IC company.”

The trend toward focused companies will continue. ”The high costs of fabs, R&D, and IC design make it difficult for any company to sustain a broad product line. Many of the previous advantages of having a broadline company supported by a large sales force, market communications and advertising are diminished by the electronic availability of semiconductor product information,” he said.

”The semiconductor market is moving toward two major product types: commodity and application specific. Commodity devices, such as DRAM and flash memory, are dependent on economies of scale. The major memory companies need huge capital investment for their memory fabs, thus they generally do not have the resources to develop other product lines,” he said.

”Application specific devices require design expertise for the end application, requiring a significant amount of engineering resources. Most of the companies focused on application specific devices are small to medium sized and use wafer foundries. Intel is an exception, a large application specific IC producer with its own fabs,” he added.


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