Windows 8, Tablets Driving Growth for Chip Industry in 2012

The research firm projects negative growth for memory makers and just 1.5 percent growth for the computer industry overall, which is largely driven by the introduction of Windows 8. However, there are bright spots, such as semiconductors for mobile PCs, which are forecast to gain 5.9 percent year over year.

"As we forecasted earlier this year, the cyclical semiconductor downturn that started in the middle of last year reached bottom in the second quarter of 2012," said Mali Venkatesan, research manager for Semiconductors at IDC. "Supply constraints on semiconductor products, such as smartphone applications processors and PC discrete graphics processors, based on the most advanced process technologies are easing as foundries are bringing more capacity online."

Conclusively, the biggest opportunities appear to be in the communications and automotive segments. IDC estimates that the Communications industry segment will grow 7.2 percent year over year in 2012, while semiconductor revenues for 4G phones will experience year-over-year growth of 579 percent. Chips for the automotive will increase sales by 9.7 percent, IDC said.

Somewhat surprising may be the note that chips for media tablets, e-Readers, HD receivers, and LED/LCD TVs will grow at a much more moderate pace of 4.4 percent.

"The semiconductor industry has recovered from the flooding in Thailand that held back the supply of hard drives and PCs. Leading-edge 22nm at Intel is ramping fast now, while foundries and memory companies are getting ready to move to 20nm technology node," Venkatesan said. However, he believes that near term growth will be slower than that of past semiconductor cycles due to "macroeconomic weakness."

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  • killerclick
    Negative growth... love that PR-speak.

    As for Windows 8 driving chip sales, I'd like to see what they're basing that on.
  • back_by_demand
    Now that these Thailand based companies have spent all their extra money they fleeced from us with hard drive prices on large quantities of sandbags, it's about time they got back to pumping out large quantities of cheap, high quality tech
    Stack it high and sell it cheap, we need something to kickstart this recession and buying techie shiney things sound like a good idea
  • pjmelect
    Extra sales from Windows 8 will probably not happen.
  • DRosencraft
    These "researchers" don't seem to have a good sense of what to expect from Win8. Every other week it seems like one is saying Win8 will bomb, and another one says it's going "save" the PC industry. Why can't they just admit they don't really know? Anyway, what I think can be said with some confidence, is that unless macroeconomic factors improve worldwide, any potential any sector has for growth will be diminished. The average person just does not have enough money or confidence that they will still be economically secure even six months from now to just jump at everything that is being thrown out by companies.
  • ceh4702
    I think for instance that the hard drives manufacturers are over-inflating the prices of hard drives. If the sales of tablets are up, who wants all these hard drives?
  • freggo
    ceh4702I think for instance that the hard drives manufacturers are over-inflating the prices of hard drives. If the sales of tablets are up, who wants all these hard drives?
    I just upgraded several 500GB internals to 2TBs.
    And they will fill up fast too... :)
    Who will have the first 10TB drive ?
  • NightLight
    i'll buy my first pad when the win 8 tab comes out!
  • ojas
    Well obviously, more tablets + phones based on win 8 (in addition to all the stuff that exists) will mean more chip sales. For desktops, however, it's a very generalized statement. New computers with windows 8 will mean new chips. replace windows 8 with any other OS and the statement still stands.
  • eddieroolz
    There may be growth, but the issue is that tablet, smartphone and other embedded chips don't command the same prices a full-fledged desktop chips do. So even when sales grow, profits don't grow proportionally.