IHS: Qualcomm the number-three semiconductor supplier in 2012

IHS iSuppli has put together a preliminary list of the top 20 semiconductor suppliers for 2012. Intel is still at the top, despite the fact that its semiconductor revenue is projected to decline slightly from last year. Samsung has the number-two spot easily locked up for another year, but you might be surprised by the firm that comes next. It's Qualcomm, which was ranked sixth last year behind Texas Instruments, Toshiba, and Renesas. An impressive 27% increase in revenue has allowed the Snapdragon SoC-maker to vault into third place.

Qualcomm's surging revenue is particularly impressive given how things have played out for the rest of the top 20. Sony is the only other firm to register double-digit growth for the year, and more than half of the companies have seen their semiconductor sales drop. Semiconductor revenue is expected to fall 2.3% for the market as a whole.

Compared to the big dogs, Qualcomm is still a smaller player. The firm will reportedly take in just under $13 billion according to IHS iSuppli's projections. Intel is slated to rake in over $47 billion, while Samsung's revenue is pegged at more than $30 billion.

Qualcomm's 2012 revenue is expected to be almost 2.5 times higher than AMD's, which might explain why ex-AMD CTO Eric Demers defected earlier this year. AMD sits in 12th place with an expected revenue drop of nearly 18%—the biggest decline in the top 20. Nvidia seems to be faring much better; although it's ranked 15th, its revenue is expected to rise by almost 9% over last year.

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