Qualcomm takes fabless into chipmaking top ten

IC Insights has claimed that fabless chipmaker Qualcomm surged into the top-ten of integrated-circuit manufacturers for the first nine months of 2008.

Sales growth of more than 25 per cent saw Qualcomm overtake Sony and take up the number-nine position in the IC Insights ranking of chipmakers. The company had spent one quarter in the top ten last year, according to the analyst firm.

The third largest fabless supplier, Broadcom, jumped five positions to become the 18th largest semiconductor company. European companies fared worse, with Qimonda dropping 12 positions from number 18 to the 30th largest manufacturer. NXP Semiconductors dropped out of the top ten, losing five places.

Unlike other analyst firms, IC Insights includes the foundries in its chipmaking rankings. TSMC, the only pure-play foundry placed in the top 20, also saw 25 per cent growth for the first nine months of the year.

“It goes to show that there are still ‘strong’ performers in a slow market,” said IC Insights president Bill McClean in a statement.

Given the state of the global economy, IC Insights predicted that the top 20 semiconductor suppliers will see an 8 per cent decline in sales in the fourth quarter, registering around $43bn in revenues. “It should be noted that the ‘star’ growth company in the first three quarters of 2008, Qualcomm, has warned that its calendar year 4Q08/3Q08 sales are expected to drop about 28 per cent,” McClean added.

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