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Intel etches highest market share in a decade

The chip giant boosted its slice of the semiconductor market to 15.6 percent last year, its highest share since at least 2001.

Intel retained its hefty grip on the chip market last year with healthy revenues and a record market share.

Ending 2011 as the top chip supplier, Intel carved out 15.6 percent of the market, a gain of 2.5 points from 2010, research firm IHS said today.

The latest figure proved to the highest at least since 2001 when the company took home a 13.9 percent share. Over the last five years, Intel's share has varied from 11.9 percent to 13.9 percent.

Strong sales growth and a major acquisition both contributed to the surge in market share.

"The company's rise was spurred by soaring demand for its PC-oriented microprocessors, and for its NAND flash memory used in consumer and wireless products," Dale Ford, head of electronics and semiconductor research for IHS, said in a statement. "Intel's revenue also was boosted by its acquisition of Infineon's wireless business unit."

For the full year, Intel saw sales of $54 billion, a 20.6 percent jump over 2010. That proved to be the third highest level of growth among the top 20 chip suppliers, surpassed only by Qualcomm and ON Semiconductor.

Intel's record year also helped it stay ahead of No. 2 supplier Samsung, which "had been whittling away at Intel's lead in recent years," according to IHS. Samsung's share of the market nestled in at 9.2 percent in 2011, unchanged from the previous year.


Overall, the global chip market grew only 1.3 percent last year, trailing IHS's December forecast of 1.9 percent. A weak fourth quarter hurt the annual results, though the industry still managed to end the year on the plus side.

Only around half of the 302 chip suppliers tracked by IHS saw a boost in revenue last year. Companies located in North America witnessed the highest gains, averaging 7.5 percent sales growth. But those in Japan saw a 7.2 percent decline in revenue as a result of the impact from the 2011 earthquake.