Just one day after Apple reported some eye-popping fiscal third-quarter results, iSuppli says the company is set to be the world’s second-largest OEM semiconductor buyer in 2011. That potentially positions the company to become the world’s top chip purchaser in 2012.
With projected semiconductor spending in 2011 of $16.2 billion, Apple will overtake Samsung Electronics, which will drop to the third spot after finishing with $13.9 billion. Apple’s one-step rise in the rankings will move the company to a close second place behind Hewlett-Packard Co., which will retain its No. 1 ranking next year thanks to $17.1 billion in spending, the firm says.
“Leadership in semiconductor spending represents a position of prestige,” said Min-Sun Moon, senior analyst for semiconductor spend and design at iSuppli, in a statement. “An advancement in the rankings means that a company has been successful in introducing new products and that it is allocating more dollars in research and development – two factors that, incidentally, feed innovativeness as well.”
In Apple’s case, Moon said, the move to second place reflects the company’s successes with the iPhone 4 and iPad. “Apple’s expected rise to No. 2 – eclipsing Samsung and putting it within a hair’s breadth of Hewlett-Packard – means that the company’s investment in its new smartphone and tablet has paid off – and will continue to do so for some time to come,” Moon noted.
Apple’s anticipated growth in 2011 continues the extraordinary arc of expansion enjoyed by the company in recent times. In 2009, Apple recorded a surprising 13 percent expansion in semiconductor spending – a year when most manufacturers posted negative growth. This year, spending by Apple will expand by a staggering 54.0 percent to reach $12.4 billion – the highest growth rate predicted for any company. Next year, spending levels will by augmented by another 30.4 percent for the company to catapult to its vaunted second-place finish.
Barring any unforeseen mergers and acquisitions by current champion Hewlett-Packard, Moon surmised, Apple could well snag the top spot as soon as 2012, ousting a company that has held down the pinnacle since early this millennium.