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Qualcomm and ST-Ericsson Shine, Even as Wireless Chip Market Tanks

How bad was the fourth quarter of 2008 for the global wireless communications semiconductor industry? So bad that the accumulated 10 percent revenue growth during the first three quarters of 2008 was wiped out by a 23.3 percent decline during the last three months of the year, causing annual growth for wireless semiconductors to go flat with a marginal 0.7 percent increase.

These figures consist of revenue from sales of application-specific semiconductors for wireless applications, including mobile handsets, wireless infrastructure equipment, wireless LANs and connectivity products. The numbers do not account for other types of semiconductors used in wireless products, including memory chips.

“Makers of mobile handsets and other wireless devices essentially stopped ordering semiconductors in the fourth quarter,” said Francis Sideco, senior analyst, wireless communications, for iSuppli. “This was due to extremely weak end demand for wireless products in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the entire wireless supply chain engaged in an inventory reduction effort, further inhibiting ordering activity.”

With conditions deteriorating so rapidly in the fourth quarter, wireless semiconductor suppliers’ visibility of future demand trends dropped to as little as one day in the fourth quarter, leaving the market in a high state of uncertainty.

Qualcomm and ST-Ericsson gain share
Leading wireless semiconductor supplier Qualcomm Inc. handily outperformed the overall market in 2008, with a 15.3 percent increase in revenue. This boosted Qualcomm’s market share to 21.7 percent for the year, up from 19 percent in 2007.

“Qualcomm continues to benefit from strong sales of its WCDMA and HSPA baseband chips,” Sideco said.

The attached table presents percentage wireless semiconductor revenue share for the world’s Top-5 suppliers.

Qualcomm’s strong performance comes despite the International Trade Commission’s (ITC’s) decision in June, 2007 to ban U.S. imports of some mobile phones that include certain Qualcomm Inc. 3G chips. As iSuppli predicted at the time, the ban did not have a significant impact on the company’s overall sales.

However, the best performance among the Top-5 wireless semiconductor suppliers in 2008 was posted by ST-Ericsson, whose revenue rose by a stunning 88.4 percent for the year. ST-Ericsson, a joint venture between ST-NXP Wireless and Ericsson Mobile Platforms, increased its market share by 4.4 percentage points in 2008 compared in 2007.

“ST-Ericsson appears to be meeting the goals of the joint venture, with combined companies achieving the level of scale in their volume and portfolio breadth that will enable gains in share. The company now is sitting solidly in the market’s No.-3 position.”

Former market wireless semiconductor leader, No.-2 Texas Instruments Inc. (TI), suffered the worst performance among the Top-5 suppliers in 2008, with revenue plunging by 22.5 percent for the year. The company continued to lose share in wireless chips as its major customer, Nokia, took steps to diversify its supply base and engage more with other wireless chip makers.

About iSuppli wireless research
Information in this release was derived from iSuppli’s Wireless Competitive Landscaping Tool (CLT). To learn more about the wireless CLT, please visit: http://www.isuppli.com/Products/L2_...

 [May 4, 2009]


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  • Qualcomm Names Steve Mollenkopf CEO and President (December 13, 2013)
  • Qualcomm Unveils Low-Power Wi-Fi Platform for Major Home Appliances and Consumer Electronics (September 6, 2013)
  • Intrinsyc Announces New Development Kit Featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 APQ8074 Processor (June 27, 2013)
  • Youku Tudou and Qualcomm Collaborate to Provide High Quality Video on its Mobile Platform (June 20, 2013)
  • Nan Chiau primary school, Qualcomm and Microsoft collaborate to build 21st century classroom with 3G smartphones in Singapore (March 30, 2012)
  • Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Family Gains Momentum With Leading OEMs Across Multiple Operating Systems (May 30, 2011)
  • Qualcomm and Ericsson Demonstrate LTE TDD Mobility at 2.3 GHz in India (December 1, 2010)
  • Qualcomm Announces Availability of Augmented Reality SDK (October 5, 2010)
  • Qualcomm Ventures Kicks Off Second Annual QPrize Competition to Find the Next Big Wireless Innovations (September 16, 2010)
  • Audiovox launches first portable DVD player with built-in FLO TV (August 13, 2010)
  • HTC Droid Incredible Carries $163.35 Bill of Materials, iSuppli Teardown Reveals (July 29, 2010)
  • Qualcomm Launches Augmented Reality Application Developer Challenge (July 5, 2010)
  • Qualcomm Establishes Augmented Reality Game Studio at Georgia Tech (July 2, 2010)
  • Qualcomm Opens Research and Development Center in Shanghai (May 25, 2010)
  • TIME, New York Times, and Harper Collins Chair Industry’s First Closed-Door Digital Publishing Summit (March 4, 2010)
  • Qualcomm smartphone OS support (December 3, 2009)
  • Semiconductor Market Declines Less Than Expected, Samsung Shines in 2009 (November 24, 2009)
  • Qualcomm Takes Lead as 4G Patent Holder, According to ABI Research (November 18, 2009)
  • Qualcomm and Broadcom Reach Settlement and Patent Agreement (April 27, 2009)
  • Nokia Deal to Boost Qualcomm’s Dominance in Mobile Handset Baseband Chips. Qualcomm takes 40.6 percent of market in Q4 (February 27, 2009)
  • Nokia and Qualcomm Enter Into a New Agreement (July 25, 2008)
  • Nortel and Qualcomm Lay Foundation for Enhanced Dual-Mode Phone Service Out-of-the-Box (December 4, 2007)
  • Federal Judge Vacates Jury’s Finding Of ’Willfulness’ in Patent Infringement Case Against Qualcomm (November 26, 2007)
  • Real Men are Fabless; Qualcomm Enters Semiconductor Top-10 in Q2 (August 28, 2007)
  • QUALCOMM Disagrees With ITC Decision and Seeks Stay and Presidential Veto of ITC Ban on Imports of Future 3G Mobile Broadband Handset Models (June 8, 2007)
  • PacketVideo and QUALCOMM Show MediaFLO Device at NAB (April 17, 2007)
  • Qualcomm Statement: Qualcomm is the Largest User of Nokia Technology and Patents (April 13, 2007)
  • QUALCOMM Rejects Nokia’s $20 Million Partial Payment Offer (April 13, 2007)
  • QUALCOMM Files Arbitration Demand Against Nokia to Resolve Dispute Over License Agreement (April 6, 2007)
  • QUALCOMM and Broadcom Agree to Dismiss Certain Patent Claims (February 23, 2007)
  • QUALCOMM Announces Expansion of uiOne Handset Portfolio With O2 in Europe (February 9, 2007)
  • Qualcomm Expresses Disappointment Over Jury Verdict (January 30, 2007)
  • QUALCOMM Brings Mobile Broadband Closer to Market with HSUPA (July 19, 2006)
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