The semiconductor market suffered its largest decline in 13 years between 1997 and 1998, according to a report issued last week by market research company Dataquest.
Revenue from semiconductors worldwide was $US134.8 billion in 1998, representing a decline of 8.4 per cent from 1997. This is the largest decline since 1985, when the market fell by a more significant 15 per cent, Dataquest said.
Last year, the DRAM (dynamic random access memory) market suffered the steepest decline, with a drop in revenues of 29.5 per cent from 1997 to 1998, according to the market researcher. On the plus side, in the microcomponents market, revenues for microprocessors grew 7.7 per cent, largely due to a rise in global PC shipments towards the end of 1998. DSP (digital signal processors) revenues grew by 5.4 per cent, driven by the continued rise in digital mobile phone usage and the increased deployment of remote access devices by ISPs (Internet service providers), Dataquest said.
Intel had a 16.9 per cent share of the global chip market last year, up from 14.7 per cent in 1997. The US chip giant's market share is 2.8 times larger than NEC, its nearest competitor, according to the report.
German vendor Siemens AG increased revenue 9.2 per cent year on year, the largest growth among the top 12 semiconductor vendors, Dataquest said.
The top semiconductor companies, in order of worldwide 1998 market share in revenue terms, were: Intel (16.9 per cent), NEC (6 per cent), Motorola (5.3 per cent), Toshiba (4.4 per cent), Texas Instruments (4.3 per cent), Hitachi and Samsung Electronics (each with 3.4 per cent), Philips Electronics NV (3.3 per cent), STMicroelectronics NV (3.1 per cent) and Fujitsu and Siemens (each with 2.8 per cent).