Chip Industry Declined 3 Percent in 2012

Global semiconductor revenue saw a downswing in 2012 compared to one year prior, dropping 3 percent to $298 billion, according to preliminary results by market research firm Gartner. The top 25 players were collectively hit the hardest, as their revenue dropped 4.2 percent, surpassing the industry average and accounting for a smaller portion of the industry's total revenue.

"Uncertainty about the state of the macroeconomy, coupled with ongoing inventory overhang, sent ripples through the semiconductor industry," said Steve Ohr, research director at Gartner. "The hardest hit areas include the PC supply chain, memory, analog and discrete components. The PC business, ordinarily a growth driver, was on a negative slope for the first time in many years. PC production declined 2.5 percent in 2012. Even the smartphone juggernaut had begun to show signs of maturing, though it remained the strongest driver for revenue growth in 2012."

Chip Die

Qualcomm was one of just two companies in the top 10 that didn't see a decline. Just the opposite, Qualcomm's revenue ballooned 29.6 percent, bumping the chip maker up from the No. 6 spot to No. 3 in terms of market share. Broadcomm was the other company that saw positive revenue growth (8.8 percent).

Intel, the top chip maker in the world, saw its semiconductor revenue decline 2.7 percent, though the Santa Clara firm still claims the lion's share of the market at 16.6 percent, nearly twice as much as Samsung in second place.