GLOBAL SEMICONDUCTOR REVENUE grew five percent last year, with Micron Technology leading the top 10 chip vendors, analyst house Gartner reported.
At $315bn in 2013, worldwide semiconductor revenue was up five per cent from 2012, Gartner said, with Micron Technology accounting for $1.19bn last year, up by 72 percent from the previous year.
Gartner said that Micron's impressive growth was attributable to its acquisition of Elpida Memory, which the analyst firm counted under Micron from the third quarter of 2013 onward.
However, Micron came in fifth in global market share, which was led by Intel, accounting for 15.4 percent of the semiconductor market. Surprisingly, Intel's revenue didn't increase from 2012 to 2013 and actually fell one percent, probably due to the decline in the PC market, which the firm had focused on as opposed to where the market was shifting, mobile.
In at second place was Samsung with 9.7 percent market share and growth of seven percent between 2012 and 2013. Third was Qualcomm with 5.5 percent market share and an impressive revenue increase of 30.6 percent, which Gartner said was due to its market-leading position in smartphone application processors and long term evolution (LTE) baseband processors.
"After a weak start to 2013 due to excess inventory, revenue growth strengthened during the second and third quarters before leveling off during the fourth quarter," Gartner research VP Andrew Norwood, said. "Memory, and in particular DRAM, led this growth; not due to strong demand, but rather weak supply growth that pushed pricing higher."
Norwood claimed that the overall semiconductor market faced a number of demand headwinds during the year, with PC production declining 9.9 percent and the premium smartphone market showing signs of saturation as growth tilted toward lower-priced, albeit quite capable, entry-level and midrange smartphone models.
Last year, Micron announced it would focus on 3D NAND flash and was working on what it called the "next major revolution in flash technologies".
Dubbed 3D NAND flash, the technology - which is also being developed by many other chip makers such as Sandisk and Intel - enables memory cells to be stacked on top of each other vertically instead of spread out in a two-dimensional horizontal grid. µ