Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

2010 Was a Boom Year in Chip Sales

When 2010 ends, worldwide sales of chips will have grown by their largest single-year increase ever, the market research firm iSuppli says in its latest survey of the global semiconductor market. Chip sales grew to $304 billion, up from $229.5 billion in 2009, the most significant year-to-year increase on a dollar basis ever, and at 32.5 percent, the second-largest on a percentage basis.

Memory chips, both DRAM and Flash memory, had a lot to do with this. DRAM sales grew by 80 percent, and Flash memory grew by 40 percent. But every market segment save for one saw double-digit growth. Good news for Samsung, Micron and Hynix.

The one thing I’ve learned in watching chip markets over a dozen years or so is that booms don’t last. ISuppli is predicting a much slower growth rate of 5 percent for 2011.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik