Intel records highest chip revenue in over a decade

For a company that is supposedly under attack – with the PC market moving away from traditional desktops and towards tablets and smartphones – Intel is performing rather well.

In fact, the latest yearly semiconductor figures released by IHS show that the Santa Clara firm increased its lead in the market with a 20.6 percent revenue jump, accounting for its highest share in over ten years.

Last year, Chipzilla increased its overall semi market revenue share to 15.6 percent, an increase of 2.5 percent from 13.1 percent in 2010.  This is even more than the 14.9 percent market revenue share way back in 2001 when Ultrabooks were just a twinkle in Intel’s eye.

This meant the firm notched up a massive $48.7 billion in sales in 2011, up from $40.3 billion the year before.  With so much money in its coffers, Intel seems to be happy to splash out on some high end fashion accessories.

While Samsung may be showing signs of catching up on Intel, acquisitions of Infineon’s wireless unit, and sales of NAND flash have helped the US company stay two steps ahead.  Samsung saw 0.6 percent revenue growth to leave its share at 9.2 percent, as its decade long assault on Intel’s position slows, for the time being, at least.

The only others that were able to match the level of Intel’s growth was Qualcomm, benefitting from the boom in smartphone sales, and ON Semiconductor, which sailed from 26th to 18th.  Qualcomm saw a massive 41.6 percent growth to jump to sixth place in the chip revenue chart.

For the industry as a whole the results from IHS were more of a mixed bag. IHS has revised down its growth figures for the semi market from 1.9 percent to 1.3 percent, with only around half of the 302 chip suppliers it looked at increasing growth.  However, there were mitigating circumstances aplenty last year, with floods, tsunamis and economic upheaval all having an effect.  

As industry expert Malcolm Penn from Future Horizons has pointed out, assuming there are less unforeseen disasters in 2012, other than the impending Mayan apocalypse, the industry is in fact in good shape to perform well this year.

Although the market saw a 5.9 percent fall in revenues in the fourth quarter of 2011, the fact that the industry was able to finish the year in overall growth despite serious challenges to production in Japan and Thailand, is an encouraging sign.

While revenue for Japanese firms fell by 7.2 percent overall, companies based in the US of A managed 7.5 percent growth.