Samsung dethrones Intel as semiconductor king

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Samsung dethrones Intel as semiconductor king

Samsung has toppled Intel as the dominant company in chip manufacturing in 2017, according to the companies' newly released financial reports.

The change – which marks the first time since 1992 that Intel is not in the top spot – stems in part from the fact that memory prices were higher due to a supply shortage.

"The largest memory supplier, Samsung Electronics, gained the most market share and took the position from Intel," said Andrew Norwood, research vice president at market research firm Gartner, in a statement.

"Memory accounted for more than two-thirds of all semiconductor revenue growth in 2017 and became the largest semiconductor category," he said in the statement.

Samsung's semiconductor division generated US$69.1 billion in annual revenue in 2017, topping the US$62.8 billion in annual revenue generated by Intel, according to the companies' respective financial reports.

According to Gartner, NAND flash prices increased year over year for the first time, up 17 percent, while DRAM prices rose 44 percent.

Equipment companies could not absorb these price increases and passed them onto consumers, making everything from PCs to smartphones more expensive in the past year, according to the Gartner report.

Despite Samsung's lead over Intel, Gartner said that the lead is "literally built on sand, in the form of memory silicon."

"Memory pricing will weaken in 2018, initially for NAND flash and then DRAM in 2019 as China increases its memory production capacity," said Norwood in the statement. "We then expect Samsung to lose a lot of the revenue gains it has made."

This article originally appeared at crn.com

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