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Gartner dips chip forecast for 2009

Something about an economic something-or-other

The chip industry has done OK despite global economic troubles, but the road ahead isn't looking nearly so pleasant, according to a new survey by Gartner.

The market researcher/diviner's formal report on the semiconductor business won't be ready until the end of November, but it's already made some major revisions to previous predictions.

Gartner now estimates 2009 semiconductor revenue will rise only 1 per cent to $282.2bn compared to a year ago. Before, Gartner had forecast growth of 7.8 per cent to $307.7bn. That's a $25.5bn reduction in potential (future make-believe) sales.

"Semiconductor growth was surprisingly strong until recently, given the very weak economic environment, but this will start to change in the fourth quarter of 2008" said Bryan Lewis, research veep at Gartner in the Semiconductor DQ Monday Report. "Mounting evidence suggests that the semiconductor industry will see negative growth starting in the fourth quarter of 2008, and that this will continue throughout most of 2009."

Revenues for Q4 2008 is estimated to be a 2 per cent increase year-over-year to total $279.4bn. Gartner's previous prediction was 4.2 per cent growth in the quarter.

"In a recession, it's important to remember that there will not only be a potential reduction in the number of systems sold, but also a move to lower-cost systems with less semiconductor content," Lewis said.

On a positive note, the research firm's crystal ball apparently gets reception from 2010 and the industry is in store for a rebound. It predicts 10.5 per cent growth that year on revenues of $311.8bn that year.

Alas, it also sees a big supply-driven downturn in 2012. Or maybe we can use this knowledge of the future to prevent it...To the timemobile! ®

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