Back in 2018, Samsung managed to break Intel’s 25-year long streak as the largest chipmaker in the world. Intel had been holding the title since the early 90s, but a boom in NAND and DRAM demand led to significant growth for Samsung, putting it over the top in 2017 and 2018. Intel was predicted to retake the crown in 2019 and preliminary numbers from analysts suggest that is indeed the case.
In March 2019 and November 2019, analysts predicted a decline in Samsung's semiconductor earnings, giving Intel the chance to be the biggest chip maker on the market once again. Now, according to Gartner, Intel has managed to do it, edging out Samsung by roughly 3.2% in market share for the year. However, it is worth noting that almost every major semiconductor was hit with year-on-year revenue declines in 2019, with total market revenue decreasing by 11.9 percent compared to 2018.
Intel was just barely affected by this market decline, with growth slowing down by 0.7 percent. Meanwhile Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron saw declines of 29.1 percent, 38 percent and 32.6 percent respectively.
Intel's semiconductor revenue for 2019 topped out at over $65 billion USD with a 15.7 percent market share, making Intel the highest earning chip maker in the world once again. Samsung is still in second place though, bringing in over $52 billion USD over the year.
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KitGuru Says: Intel had a lengthy streak as the world's top chip maker. I doubt we'll see another 25-year reign at the top but it will be interesting to see how 2020 pans out, particularly with the 5G market set to start growing rapidly.