Samsung threatens Intel's chip-making crown

According to stats provided by IC Insights, Samsung has had a bumper first half of 2010 and is closing in on Intel in the sales charts. Two years of similar performance could see Samsung become king of the hill.

The IC Insights report shows that, despite the semiconductor Top 20 pecking order not having changed much, Samsung is closing in on Intel in terms of sales values.The Korean chaebol, generated - for the first half of 2010 - sales of $15,296 million, a 14 per cent growth rate over the first quarter of the year, while Intel sold $19,395 million, a four per cent growth rate, quarter-on-quarter. Samsung is surprisingly closing the gap on Intel. As a reference, Samsung generated $21 billion in sales last year, and this year it's already on $15 billion in the first half alone. We're sure the surge in mobile devices with oodles of RAM and Flash memory has much to do with this.

Also of note is the merged NEC/Renesas unit, now dubbed Renesas Electronics which drops from number four (2009) to number six, Hynix which claws back two spots to number seven, Elpida which jumps up from #15 and lands in #10 is another big winner with the memory frenzy. TSMC moves up one spot to number five, which can be partly explained by the huge demand for GPUs from the two main graphics brands.

Qualcomm, despite registering serious business this year (the outfit has actually seen its business grow double-digits this quarter) hasn't avoided dropping three places into number 11. Toshiba, on the other hand, has lost seven per cent of sales compared to last quarter, but it somehow managed to climb up the ladder, compared to last year.

The Samsung vs Intel face-off has the analyst press a-flutter and will be the talk of many conference calls in the future if Samsung keeps up its progress. We haven't seen a world where not Intel, but Samsung's growth is a demonstration that not only memory and storage IC is providing a steady source of income, but also low-power computing.

Let's see where this all leads. The third quarter has been rather mild this year and the fourth will favour Samsung the most. Intel has basically jammed sales until Q1 2011 due to the Sandy Bridge launch, but Samsung is guns a-blazin' with its tablet devices and mobile phones... sure to make a hit during the Christmas period.

Intel is not used to being second.

Just sayin', just sayin'.