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Chip-equipment sales dove in 2001

New research finds that makers of microchip manufacturing equipment saw worldwide sales slide almost 30 percent in 2001, a year in which capacity shipments "virtually ceased."

Makers of microchip manufacturing equipment saw worldwide sales slide almost 30 percent in 2001, according to a new study, as demand dropped and manufacturers were left with more capacity then they needed.

The report, from researcher Gartner Dataquest, found that worldwide wafer fabrication equipment revenue dropped from $33.1 billion in 2000 to $23.3 billion in 2001.

"Following the spectacular growth of 2000, capacity shipments virtually ceased during 2001, and the buying focus was on technology and productivity-enhancing equipment," Bob Johnson, principal analyst at Gartner Dataquest's semiconductor research group, said in a statement. "The 2001 market was kinder to companies in hot technology segments such as lithography, copper interconnect and process control."

Applied Materials had the top spot in terms of revenue, controlling 20.7 percent of the market even though its revenue fell 41 percent from a year earlier to $4.8 billion. Tokyo Electron came in second with 11.1 percent of the market.

KLA-Tencor, one of the few companies that saw revenue rise in 2001, came in third with 7.9 percent of the market, up from its No. 5 ranking in 2000. KLA-Tencor's revenue rose from $1.76 billion in 2000 to $1.89 billion in 2001.

Canon was the only other company that moved up in the rankings, rising from the No. 8 spot to No. 6.