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Intel's lead in semiconductors could be challenged by Samsung

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Intel's lead in semiconductors could be challenged by Samsung
"The overall competition landscape will change as the boundary between CPU and AP blurs, with Intel trying mobile chips, and the performance of ARM-based APs improving to the level of CPU ... That indicates Samsung's ultimate target could be Intel and Qualcomm."-Greg Nho, HMC Investment & Securities.
Intel is the undisputed leader in semiconductors, but because its dominance includes 80% of the slower growing computer processor market, it leaves open the possibility that another company could overtake Intel as 'King of the Chips'. That could be Samsung. While growth in the Mobile Applications Processor market, where Samsung lives, is seen growing at 40% a year through 2014, Computer Processor growth will be in the single digits. According to NH Investment and Securities, by 2014 the Mobile Applications Processor market will have jumped fourfold to $33 billion while the Comuer Processor market will shrink by more than 10% to $34 billion. And while that is good for Samsung (and Qualcomm and TI), it is bad news for Intel which has yet to make anything close to a dent in the mobile market.

Intel has seen the launch of the first smartphone to use its Medfield processor in the Lava International Xolo X900 which was released in India. Lenovo and Motorola both plan on building smartphones with Intel inside, but the chip maker is well behind leaders like the Samsung Exynos processor and the Qualcomm Snapdragon.
"It's premature to forecast who will be the winner or if Intel's entrance will pose any substantial threat to the ARM camp, given that ARM architecture is unarguably ahead of (Intel's) x86 APs in power consumption, while production costs are also lower."-Nomura Securities
The $311 billion semiconductor industry is no longer led by PC's and laptops. Now, it is smartphones and tablets that are running the show. In an example of this, Samsung, which is the leader in memory chips for computers, is converting some production from those memory chips to logic chips used in mobile devices and will spend $2 billion for a new logic chip plant in South Korea where the company is based. And now the Intel-Microsoft combination which for years was the choice for PC makers, is being threatened by the Redmond based software giant's decision to offer ARM based tablets running Windows 8. The scary thing for Intel is that this could suggest that ARM based processors could be eventually used in PCs, eliminating the need for the chip that provides the lion's share of Intel's revenue.

Can Samsung catch up and overtake Intel? Last year Intel sold $48.7 billion in chips, about $20 billion more than Samsung sold according to iSuppli. How can the Korean based tech titan pass Samsung? At least one analyst says it would require a huge growth in Samsung's memory chip sales and a stumble by Intel. Mike Howard, an analyst at iSuppli, says that while Samsung could have trouble growing its share in memory chips, he sees Intel having to form a major alliance long term to hold off Samsung. If Samsung does have one disadvantage, because it produces smartphones and tablets as well as the chips inside, some producers of mobile devices might not award business to them.
"Catching Intel would require significant growth in memory market share along with an Intel stumble. While there are challenges for Samsung to continue to grow market share in memory (chips)... I would anticipate a major alliance, long-term, between Intel and another major memory company to rival Samsung."-Mike Howard, iSuppli.
Another battle will be in the manufacturing process. Samsung expects to produce 14nm and 20nm Exynos chips next year while Intel is spending $5 billion to build a factory in Chandler, Arizona to manufacture 15nm chips. And that sus up the whole semiconductor picture. With Intel and Samsung battling for supremacy of the semiconductor market, it is the end user that will benefit from the smaller and faster chips being made.

source: Reuters

12 Comments
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posted on 21 Jun 2012, 19:19 2

1. khmer (Posts: 93; Member since: 21 Jun 2012)


If Intel make chips for mobile devices, Samsung must make chips for PC and laptops to challenge Intel and AMD.

posted on 21 Jun 2012, 21:11 4

5. ph00ny (Posts: 606; Member since: 26 May 2011)


That's actually not a good idea. There is a good reason why intel is still the leader and AMD is falling behind every year

posted on 21 Jun 2012, 21:44

6. RageQuit (Posts: 41; Member since: 05 Sep 2011)


Actually Samsung cannot. Samsung makes ARM processors, which take less power than intel's x86 but also dont perform as well as x86 when the voltage is increased. x86 Archtecture that can be used for computers because all the major OSs only run on x86(albeit windows 8 will have an ARM version but it wont be able to run any programs besides the ones it comes with because all desktop computer programs are x86). intel is getting into the mobile market by scaleing down the x86 architecture and using a x86 version of android( intel has mad it so that their new medfield x86 processor will be able to run about 90% of android apps) the thing is Samsung doesnt have the ability to make x86 due to patents and intel also has a tight grip on companies makeing them buy all intel(AMD is pretty much alive just thought the consumer market and places where intel lets them at this point).

posted on 21 Jun 2012, 23:47

9. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5877; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Except the growth is going to occur in the MAP market space that Samsung has a pretty good command of (certainly better than Intel). Low power chips is not Intel's strong suit. Intel is going to have to bring its 'A' game to make inroads on Sammy.

Something tells me the consumer is going to benefit. Especially if Intel gets serious.

posted on 21 Jun 2012, 19:32 3

2. cepcamba (Posts: 717; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


The advantage of Samsung is they build the final end products too. Having other companies use their hardware is a good thing for income but they don't really need to since they can use their supplies themselves.

Samsung overtaking Intel is not something impossible. But Intel is yet to make a big move, so until they tumble down we really won't know.

posted on 21 Jun 2012, 20:20 4

3. andrew1953 (Posts: 175; Member since: 13 Nov 2011)


In the e.d competition gives customers a better product. Go Samsung

posted on 21 Jun 2012, 20:24 3

4. RoundBallmer (banned) (Posts: 43; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


Shameless samsuck

posted on 21 Jun 2012, 21:47

7. RageQuit (Posts: 41; Member since: 05 Sep 2011)


i think once intel gets into the Mobile market they will start to dominate, they just have so much more cash than the compation and x86 medfields seem to be really powerful, just got to wait and see until they get into the high end market.

posted on 21 Jun 2012, 22:27

8. jove39 (Posts: 1308; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Intel's attempt to challenge arm based chips are just...quite underwhelming...intel could have played a top card by partnering with MS to run WP8 on x86 based cpu...w8 is already sharing kernel with wp8...it would have been perfect!

posted on 22 Jun 2012, 00:23 1

10. Suts_97 (Posts: 124; Member since: 05 May 2012)


Samsung, you are going to be then new King soon!

posted on 22 Jun 2012, 01:11 1

11. Mitchel (Posts: 228; Member since: 25 May 2012)


Lebron James & Samsung are destined to be the new KING!!!

posted on 22 Jun 2012, 01:45

12. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


Where the hell is AMD?
It looks like they have only 2yrs left before they went bankrupt.

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