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Rambus storms through chip IP market

ARM still top of the totem pole, though

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Rambus is the world's third largest semiconductor intellectual property provider behind ARM and MIPS, according to the latest stats from Gartner's Dataquest subsidiary.

The global chip design market was worth $689 million last year, an increase of 40 per cent of 1999's figure of $492 million.

ARM is the sector's leader - surprise, surprise - with some 16.6 per cent of the market based on revenues. MIPS follows closely behind, with 13.3 per cent, just ahead of Rambus at 10.5 per cent.

Unlike ARM, MIPS and many other players, however, Rambus increased its marketshare between 2000 and 1999, rising to 10.5 per cent from 8.8 per cent. The market's number one and number two players both saw their share fall, from 17.9 per cent and 17.2 per cent, respectively, according to Gartner's numbers.

Still, ARM hasn't done too badly out of it, seeing as how its revenues grew nearly 30 per cent, from $88.5 million to $114.2 million, between 1999 and 2000. Rambus' sales shot up 66.6 per cent - three sixes, you'll note... ahem - from $43.4 million in 1999 to $72.3 million in 2000.

Rambus' growth was exceeded only by Virage Logic (79.4 per cent) and Ireland's Parthus Technologies (264.5 per cent). Parthus, incidentally, provided DSP technology for Nvidia's Media Communications Processor, part of the Xbox chipset and the graphic specialist's nForce Athlon-oriented PC chipset.

Of course, how well Rambus will fare during 2001, thanks to its failure (so far) to force Infineon to cough up single and double data rate SDRAM royalties, remains to be seen. ARM is likely to go from strength to strength, as more mobile device developers build kit based processors based in turn on its technology. Intel's XScale and Motorola's Palm-oriented Dragonball-ARM are obvious examples. ®

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