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IBM to be 2005's fastest-growing chip maker

PowerPC provider still a long way behind AMD, Intel

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AMD may be eating into Intel's x86 processor market share, but its arch-rival will remain the world's biggest chip maker by a long margin when 2005 comes to a close.

According to the latest forecast from market watcher iSuppli, Intel will sell $35.849bn worth of chips this year, including x86 processors, ARM-based CPUs, chipsets, wireless semiconductors, Flash memory and the odd Itanic or two. It sales will be 14.4 per cent up on 2004's total, $31.346bn, and it will take 15.1 per cent of the global chip market.

Its nearest rival, with 7.2 per cent of the market, is Samsung, iSuppli said. The South Korean giant's sales rose 8.5 per cent year on year, from $15.759bn to $17.096bn. Texas Instruments took the number three slot. Its 2005 sales of $11.105bn - up 8.6 per cent - yield a market share of 4.7 per cent.

IBM, rated number 18, experienced the industry's highest growth rate, with sales up 30 per cent year on year, jumping from $2.503bn in 2004 to $3.255bn. Look to its deals with Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft to supply PowerPC processors for their next-generation games consoles as one source of the increase. Those gains will really kick in 2006, when Sony and Nintendo begin shipping their consoles commercially.

In 24th place, Nvidia experienced growth of 22.8 per cent, taking its market share to 0.9 per cent and its sales to $2.063bn. The next highest growth rate was Hynix's - it sales rose 18.5 per cent, from $4.606bn to $5.459bn, granting it 2.3 per cent of the world chip market.

But back to Intel and long-time sparring partner AMD. AMD's 2005 market share will be 2.4 per cent, iSuppli reckons, on the back of sales totalling $5.711bn, up 11.8 per cent on 2004's $5.108bn. AMD's figures include sales from Spansion, its Flash memory joint-venture with Fujitsu. Intel's figures include Flash sales too.

iSuppli said global chip sales will total $237.3bn, up 4.4 per cent on 2004's $227.3bn. This is a better growth rate than the 2.4 per cent the researcher predicted in September, thanks to better-than-expected Q3 sales - up 4.5 per cent year on year and 9.3 per cent sequentially. It reckons Q4 sales will be up 5.3 per cent sequentially. ®

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