Wireless comms surpass computers in semiconductor spending area

Summary:A huge contribution to this is the proliferation of wireless mobile devices -- particularly the "red-hot appeal of items like Apple's iPhone and iPad."

Global spending for semiconductors is now led by the wireless communications sector, surpassing computers, according to a new report from IHS iSuppli.

Specifically, spending by the world’s top manufacturers on microchips for wireless products came out to roughly $58.6 billion in 2011, up 14.5 percent from 2010. Computers, on the other hand, have declined against wireless communication devices steadily since 2009, and it doesn't look like they will rebound anytime soon.

A huge contribution to this is the proliferation of wireless mobile devices -- particularly the "red-hot appeal of items like Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad."

IHS analyst Wenlie Ye, who specializes in covering semiconductor design and spending, explained in the report:

Among the 10 segments tracked for semiconductor spending, the biggest market share—at 24 percent—belonged to the wireless market, spurred by prodigious mobile handset and tablet sales exemplified by the runaway success of Apple’s popular offerings. Wireless will continue to generate the most growth during the next two years. A substantial portion of the segment’s increase will be due to rising tablet sales, although mobile handsets like smartphones will continue to account for the lion’s share of semiconductor segment in the wireless area.

By next year, OEM wireless spending is projected to surpass $72.9 billion, but computers will remain stagnant at $53.4 billion.

The takeaway point is that the balance of semiconductor spending will shift decisively toward wireless and away from computing as desktops and laptops start to lose favor by consumers more interested in smartphones and tablets.

Graph via IHS iSuppli


Topics: Processors, Hardware, Mobility, Networking


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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