After a Long Decade, Intel Reaches Even Higher

It's been a while, but Chip King Kong Intel (NAS: INTC) is back to heights not seen in a decade.

IHS iSuppli has just released its digits on the global semiconductor market for last year, and unsurprisingly, Intel takes the top spot. For 2011, iSuppli estimates that the chip giant brought in semiconductor revenue of $48.7 billion, earning it a 15.6% market share. That's a healthy lead over runner-up Samsung, whose $28.6 billion in sales grabbed 9.2% of the pie.

Here are some other notable contenders and a look at how they stacked up last year. It's a lengthy list, so this is just a small taste.

2011 Rank


2010 Revenue (Billions)

2011 Revenue (Billions)

2011 Market Share







Texas Instruments





Qualcomm (NAS: QCOM)










Micron (NYS: MU)










Advanced Micro Devices (NYS: AMD)









Source: IHS iSuppli.

That top-dog slice that Intel was able to claim is the highest share that it's had since 2001, when it claimed a 14.9% market share. iSuppli notes that Intel's share has ranged between 11.9% and 13.9% over the past five years, and Samsung has been quickly closing the gap in recent times, as it grew its territory from 3.9% in 2000 to 9.2% in 2010.

Intel effectively bought some of its growth with its acquisition of Infineon's wireless unit a few years ago. That being said, it still saw strong demand for its PC-bound chips and NAND flash memory offerings. Intel's semiconductor revenue jumped 20.6%, outpacing most players other than Qualcomm and ON Semiconductor. Qualcomm's sales soared by 41.5%, while ON's rose by nearly half.

Interestingly, a separate study by In-Stat recently predicted that Apple might dethrone Intel as the top mobile chipmaker (with a relatively broad definition of "mobile") this year, although that was based on shipments instead of revenue, since Apple doesn't sell its processors to anyone else but instead uses them in its own iDevices.

In terms of revenue, it doesn't look as if anyone can come close to even touching Intel's lead anytime soon.

Within the broader semiconductor market, smartphone- and tablet-bound chips are set to see explosive growth. This is a sector that Intel has mostly missed out on so far, but that doesn't mean you have to also. The Motley Fool has a special free report on 3 Hidden Winners of the iPhone, iPad, and Android Revolution that will give investors a head start. It includes one company mentioned in this article, and it isn't Intel. Get the free report now.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorEvan Niuowns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Qualcomm, Intel, and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple, NVIDIA, and Intel, writing puts on NVIDIA, and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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