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Qualcomm soars while Elpida snores – financials posted

If your company teeters on the brink of the abyss or suddenly finds itself riding the revenues rocket because you’re in the right place in the right industry at the right time – then you’re going to be posting different financial results. The unscientifically calculated gap between Qualcomm’s increase and Elpida’s drop is around 113%. KitGuru heads over to Wall Street to discover if money sleeps or not.

Elpida, darling of the Japanese memory market and supplier to luminaries like Corsair and Kingston, hit a massive brick wall when it’s board decided that voluntary administration was the best move – as reported by KitGuru on 29th February. KitGuru predicted that Samsung would be ordering champagne to celebrate Elpida’s woes and, sure enough, Samsung was the only memory manufacturer to post growth.

Many of the most exciting Android releases for 2012 (like the LG D1L) will include a SnapDragon processor from Qualcomm and the San Diego giant is likely to struggle to make enough chips for 2012. Too much demand? Nice problem to have. The increase in interest in its products – combined with the purchase of wireless boffins Atheros – meant that Qualcomm was able to post an increase in sales of 38%.

That’s a big increase, but not enough for top spot, which goes to Motorola spin-off ON Semiconductor from Arizona. This silicon design specialist might only have revenues of around $3.4 billion, but if it carries on posting increases of  49% – then the rest of the market might have to take cover (OK – the 49% was helped by the acquisition of Sanyo, but it’s still pretty impressive growth).

Global Foundries, the AMD production spin off, managed a neat trick. Although it dropped in size by 1% – the overall market changes around it meant that Global Foundries actually moved UP from number 24 to number 21 in the world. In contrast, nVidia’s ACTUAL increase of 10% means that it was able to climb several spots from 23 to 18.

Lastly, let’s take a second to look at Intel. The world number one managed (through natural means and the acquisition of Infineon) to increase by 24%. Very healthy.

The big five, shows in correct order, above a CPU wafer. Intel's 24% bump for 2011 is really impressive

KitGuru says: Globally, in 2011, the market for semi-conductors grew by 2%, but looking at the top 25 producers, only 9 of them were ahead of that curve. It seems that the long, slow, inevitable move toward oligopoly is happening in this market like most others. Less choice will bring price stability, sure, but it can also have a negative impact on value.

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