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After a Long Decade, Intel Reaches Even Higher

It's been a while, but Chip King Kong Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) is back to heights not seen in a decade.

IHS iSuppli has just released its digits on the global semiconductor market for last year, and unsurprisingly, Intel takes the top spot. For 2011, iSuppli estimates that the chip giant brought in semiconductor revenue of $48.7 billion, earning it a 15.6% market share. That's a healthy lead over runner-up Samsung, whose $28.6 billion in sales grabbed 9.2% of the pie.

Here are some other notable contenders and a look at how they stacked up last year. It's a lengthy list, so this is just a small taste.

2011 Rank


2010 Revenue (Billions)

2011 Revenue (Billions)

2011 Market Share

1 Intel $40.4 $48.7 15.6%
3 Texas Instruments $13 $14 4.5%
6 Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM  ) $7.2 $10.2 3.3%
7 STMicroelectronics $10.3 $9.7 3.1%
9 Micron (NYSE: MU  ) $8.9 $7.4 2.4%
10 Broadcom $6.7 $7.2 2.3%
11 Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD  ) $6.3 $6.4 2.1%
17 NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA  ) $3.2 $3.6 1.2%

Source: IHS iSuppli.

That top-dog slice that Intel was able to claim is the highest share that it's had since 2001, when it claimed a 14.9% market share. iSuppli notes that Intel's share has ranged between 11.9% and 13.9% over the past five years, and Samsung has been quickly closing the gap in recent times, as it grew its territory from 3.9% in 2000 to 9.2% in 2010.

Intel effectively bought some of its growth with its acquisition of Infineon's wireless unit a few years ago. That being said, it still saw strong demand for its PC-bound chips and NAND flash memory offerings. Intel's semiconductor revenue jumped 20.6%, outpacing most players other than Qualcomm and ON Semiconductor. Qualcomm's sales soared by 41.5%, while ON's rose by nearly half.

Interestingly, a separate study by In-Stat recently predicted that Apple might dethrone Intel as the top mobile chipmaker (with a relatively broad definition of "mobile") this year, although that was based on shipments instead of revenue, since Apple doesn't sell its processors to anyone else but instead uses them in its own iDevices.

In terms of revenue, it doesn't look as if anyone can come close to even touching Intel's lead anytime soon.

Within the broader semiconductor market, smartphone- and tablet-bound chips are set to see explosive growth. This is a sector that Intel has mostly missed out on so far, but that doesn't mean you have to also. The Motley Fool has a special free report on 3 Hidden Winners of the iPhone, iPad, and Android Revolution that will give investors a head start. It includes one company mentioned in this article, and it isn't Intel. Get the free report now.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Qualcomm, Intel, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, NVIDIA, and Intel, writing puts on NVIDIA, and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2012, at 12:16 AM, cfravel wrote:

    "since Apple doesn't sell its processors to anyone else but instead uses them in its own iDevices." No, it's because Apple doesn't make processors -- at all. Even though they "brand" the processors, they don't build them. That is outsourced. Intel actually manufactures processors. That was the difference we were trying to highlight in the other article's comments, too. The first iPhones were rebranded Samsung processors. More than likely, that has continued.

    Apple is not a manufacturer, at least not of physical goods. They design form factors and specify materials & components. The real engineering and manufacturing is done by their supply chain vendors.

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2012, at 1:55 AM, jdwelch62 wrote:

    Thanks, Evan. Nice to see positive coverage on Intel from you... :-)

    INTC's price is getting pretty close to ARMH's... And with a PE of just 11.76 compared to ARM's 73.46 (!), Intel is looking a whole lot cheaper. Gonna hang on to your ARMH shares much longer, or are you gonna join us on this side? The yield is much better over here, too, Ev... Just sayin'... LOL!

    Anyway, Fool on, Bro!... :-)

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2012, at 10:08 AM, TMFNewCow wrote:


    Does that mean you don't consider QCOM, TI, NVDA, MRVL, BRCM, etc. among many others, as chipmakers? I agree that Intel is in a different league since it still fabricates its own chips, but in fairness the vast majority of other players do outsource production, and it'd be a tough argument that none of them are "chipmakers."


    In all honesty, ARMH has been kinda disappointing for me, I'm basically even on my position and it just sits at the same level and has underperformed the broader market since I've owned it (probably due to the lofty valuation you mentioned). I've been definitely pondering my ARMH position, but I'm not quite ready to completely defect quite. I'll keep you posted though!

    -- Evan

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2012, at 8:38 PM, jdwelch62 wrote:

    Cross over to the Light Side, Evan, before it's too late!...


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