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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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