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Samsung overtakes Apple as world's biggest semiconductor buyer

24 Jan 2013

Samsung has overtaken Apple to become the biggest buyer of semiconductors, according to a report from Gartner.

Gartner reported Samsung bought eight percent of all chips sold in 2012. In comparison, Apple purchased 7.2 percent of chips sold.

Between the firms' spending equates to $43.5bn on semiconductors, Gartner estimated.

Samsung's purchases were boosted by strong sales in its tablet and smartphone business. The company bought $28.9bn worth of semiconductors to power devices like the Galaxy S3.

Apple, meanwhile, bought $13.6bn worth of chips in 2012, down a touch on the previous year, where Gartner said it bought $21.4bn worth of chips.

Despite the purchase orders from Apple and Samsung, the semiconductor industry suffered in 2012. Gartner found that the total semiconductor market saw declines of three percent last year.

According to Gartner principal research analyst Masatsune Yamaji, the overall decline stemmed from the struggling PC market's decreased demand for chips.

"In addition to a weak macroeconomic situation, a dramatic change in consumer demand contributed to a reduction in semiconductor demand in 2012," said Yamaji.

"The PC market still represented the largest sector for chip demand, but desktop and mobile PCs did not sell well, as consumers' interest shifted to new mobile computing devices like smartphones and media tablets. This shift caused a substantial decrease in semiconductor demand in 2012, as the semiconductor content of a smartphone or a media tablet is far less than that of a PC."

Gartner recently reported that PC sales declined 4.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. The analyst firm blamed the decline on the growth of the tablet market.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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