Gartner has released a table of the top ten semiconductor buyers and it seems Apple has snagged the top spot, stealing the slot away from HP. The company increased its semiconductor spending by 34.6 percent, jacking it up from $12.8 billion to $17.3 billion. This surge in spending pushed 2010's number one buyer, HP, out of the top spot. Samsung also increased its semiconductor spending, with an increase of 9.2 percent (up from $15.27 billion to $16.68 billion) being enough to maintain the number two slot. This meant that HP, previously king, was pushed to number three. HP decreased its spending for 2011 by 5.5 percent, or dropping from $17.58 billion in 2010 to $16.61 billion.
"The major growth drivers in 2011 were smartphones, media tablets and solid-state drives (SSDs)," said Masatsune Yamaji, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Those companies that gained share in the smartphone market, such as Apple, Samsung Electronics and HTC, increased their semiconductor demand, while those who lost market share in this segment, such as Nokia and LG Electronics, decreased their semiconductor demand. Media tablets were also a growth driver for the semiconductor market throughout 2011."
Gartner says the top ten purchasers of semiconductors accounted for $105.6 billion of semiconductor demand, a total of 35 percent of total semiconductor chip revenue last year.