John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Return With Us Now to Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear When Chips Sales Were on the Rise and the Webvan IPO Seemed Like a Good Idea

rebound2010 will likely be a better year for the semiconductor industry than 2009. In fact, it may turn out to have the best growth in nearly a decade. According to research house iSuppli Corp, worldwide chip revenue is expected to rise to $300.3 billion, up 30.6 percent from $229.9 billion in 2009.

The last time the industry saw this kind of growth was in 2000, when its revenue spiked 36.7 percent, driven upward by the same forces that made selling 50-pound bags of kitty litter from Pets.com or putting money into the Webvan.com IPO seem like a wise idea.

This year, though, the fundamentals driving growth are far more solid–strong PC, cellphone and LCD television demand and an overall rebound in spending on consumer electronics.

Said iSuppli’s Dale Ford: “Building on the continuing expansion in sales that followed the downturn in late 2008 and early 2009, the semiconductor industry is set to achieve remarkable revenue growth and record size in 2010.”

Still, it’s worth noting that revenue growth in 2010 will be “remarkable” largely because of a favorable comp to 2009, which was a truly crappy year for the semiconductor industry.

And it’s worth noting too that iSuppli’s currently rosy outlook could change with economic conditions. “The economy represents the biggest wild card in iSuppli’s 2010 forecast,” Ford cautioned. “While many indicators have shown sustained improvement, there are, however, a number of financial and economic trouble spots that could endanger the continued growth in the market before the end of 2010.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work