The customer list of Applied Materials reads like a who's who of the tech industry, including memory chip wrangler Micron Technology
That impressive diversity means that the company is less affected by strength or weakness in any single market. At the moment, that means slow sales from LCD screen builders weighing down strong business from the solar industry and memory builders -- or the other way around, depending on your point of view.
All in all, Applied Materials reported 89% sales growth year-over-year at $2.9 billion. Earnings more than tripled to $0.35 per share, and orders are coming in faster than the company can ship them. The company is taking market share from its rivals and is particularly strong in the Chinese solar panel business, which "bodes well for our business" in the words of CEO Mike Splinter.
So Applied Materials isn't as exciting as smaller rivals KLA-Tencor
Some say that's boring; others see admirable stability. Where do you stand? Share your thoughts on Applied Materials in the comments below.
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