Research company Gartner Inc. said that semiconductor sales worldwide will decline 0.1 percent this year to $299 billion, reversing a previous forecast that revenue would rise 5.1 percent. The research company said on Sept. 8 that global personal computer shipments will increase less than predicted this year and next as consumers scale back spending. Semiconductor companies' third-quarter forecasts have been "well below seasonal averages," stated Bryan Lewis, research vice president at Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner Inc.
One positive development is the growing sales of smartphones and tablets, especially Apple's iPad. That has helped make NAND flash memory and data processing ASICs the fastest-growing areas in 2011, with about a 20% growth, according to Gartner.
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For the makers of memory chips, Micron Technology warned last week that continued oversupply of DRAM chips will weigh on margins, adding to investor worries about tepid PC sales and casting a shadow on expectations for the upcoming holiday season. The NAND market continues to improve, however. Contract prices for MLC NAND flash memories all stopped falling in late August, according to DRAMeXchange.
Microelectronic makers have been showing steady growth over the last year as surging demand for tablet computers and smartphones continues to drive the top line. In addition, with the continuously growing "green movement," integrated circuit makers have begun using their semiconductor expertise to benefit the alternative energy sector.
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