As the guy on the message board put it, "They should warn more often!"

That's the sentiment of many Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) shareholders after the market bid the stock up 11% following -- get this -- a revenue warning. Sure, anything can happen to a stock that's trading not far from its 52-week low, and the argument will be that "worse news" was priced in. But you have to wonder if the enthusiasm is warranted.

I'm not a big believer in the kind of breezy generalizations that pass for analysis of an entire industry, but the succession of major chip firms having stumbles over the past few weeks has been enough to make anyone believe that the semiconductor industry is run by starry-eyed optimists.

Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) inventory woes got the most press, but there have been recent oopsies from the likes of Conexant (NASDAQ:CNXT), which was hammered back in July for making a similar announcement.

Broadcom lowered its third-quarter revenue target by 5% from its previous guidance to $641 million. That would represent 5% growth over the second quarter, but 50% over the prior-year period. Management claims the "industry-wide" inventory glut that's crimping everyone else's style should be short-lived, and, in its case, remains limited to weaknesses in the market for products designed for mobile handsets and set-top boxes.

A Fool would do well to ponder that statement; especially since the handset market has been red-hot, with last quarter's shipments up 35%, even better than industry watchers predicted. How do you know that the firm's crystal ball is focused now?

No, it can't be easy trying to predict demand when your products have become a commodity. And that's just the problem. There's competition everywhere, and fickle consumers can render the best forecasts meaningless as quickly as you can zip a purse shut.

That's why this sector, including peers like Agere Systems (NYSE:AGRa), Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO), and PMC-Sierra (NASDAQ:PMCS), has been so brutally punished this year. It was supposed to be -- according to some -- a great play earlier this summer, though my persnickety colleague Bill Mann was a good deal less bullish, and he's been right so far.

Broadcom may be a marquee name, or the darling of the moment, but, cheap as it may look in light of the -- wildly variable -- analysts' earnings estimates, it can't escape the reality of its brutal sector. If you must have your tech, there are plenty of other companies out there with great growth and better locks on their respective markets.

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Seth Jayson loves tech, but prefers companies with a better stranglehold on the competition. He has no position in any company mentioned. View his Fool profile here.