Well, well, well, the latest version of the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Semiconductor Applications Forecaster (SAF) is something that PC doomsayers can shove right in their ill-informed pie holes. According to IDC, the worldwide semiconductor market grew by 3.7 percent in 2011 to $301 billion, and barring any unforeseen events, IDC expects the market to grow another 6-7 percent in 2012 with Intel leading the way. That's hardly the sign of a shrinking market, though mobile is playing a big role as well.
Interestingly, out of the 100 semiconductor companies IDC's SAF tracks, over 40 saw their revenues grow by more than 5 percent and about the same number saw revenue decline by the same amount. Intel, which is predominantly focused on PCs and servers, stole most of the spoils with some $51.8 billion in revenue in 2011, well ahead of Samsung in second place, which collected $29 billion. Texas Instruments, Toshiba, and Renesas Electronics rounded out top 5 semiconductor suppliers.
"There is a trend underway toward more integration, as companies try to position themselves for the next phase of growth and as device applications become more and more intelligent and move toward supporting high-level operating systems, connectivity, and application processing capabilities. In addition, as large companies with strong cash balances vie for competitive positions, mergers and acquisitions will be a key theme," said Mali Venkatesan, research manager, Semiconductors at IDC, who led the study and compiled the SAF results.
Venkatesan added that he still expects the current semiconductor cycle, which started in mid-2011, to "bottom out" in the current quarter before fab utilization rates pick up and spur a 6-7 percent growth in revenue this year.