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TI holds on to MEMS crown

Posted: 15 May 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MEMS market? DLP chips?

Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) is still the top MEMS manufacturer in 2011, according to an IHS iSuppli's MEMS Market Brief report.

TI was neck in neck with runner-up Hewlett-Packard Co but still defended its crown, IHS added.

With MEMS revenue of $779 million, TI led a competitive field of big-name players in the overall MEMS space, whose sensors and actuators are used in a variety of industries including consumer and mobile, automotive, industrial, medical, and aerospace and defense. Together, the Top 10 MEMS players had a combined revenue of $4.7 billion in 2011, up 12 percent from $4.2 billion in 2010, as shown in the table.

IHS MEMS report

IHS iSuppli Table: Worldwide top 10 revenue forecast for MEMS IDM and fabless manufacturers, excluding foundries (millions of dollars).
Source: IHS iSuppli Research, May 2012

Joining TI in the Top 5, in descending order, were Hewlett-Packard, Bosch, STMicroelectronics and Canon. The top three representing TI, HP and Bosch were separated by just a small margin, heightening the sense of fierce competitiveness surrounding the space last year. And though TI and HP remained the leaders, No. 3 Bosch and fourth-ranked STM had much larger revenue jumps that could propel them to the top and lead to the dethronement of the leading incumbents very soon.

The rest of the Top 10 last year included Panasonic, Denso, Knowles Electronics, Analog Devices and Epson. Freescale Semiconductor, a former member of the group, tumbled out of the Top 10 this year and fell to No. 11.

"TI in 2011 managed to hold on to the leading position it earned in 2010 because of the continuing sales of its digital processing light (DLP) chips, which employ MEMS technology," said Jrmie Bouchaud, director and senior principal analyst for MEMS & sensors at IHS. "TI has held the leadership spot in the MEMS business since 2010, when its DLP business rebounded because of shipments to the business and education front-projector segment. Sales are especially strong in China and India, where the DLP chip in projectors has been grabbing share away from liquid crystal displays (LCD)."

The DLP chip has been a major success story for TI, but the company has had to weather the disappearance of the rear-projection TV market in which DLP chips have been prominently featured. The erosion of the rear-projection TV market meant a 31 percent loss in MEMS revenue for TI from 2004 to 2009, until a reversal in its fortunes occurred in 2010 because of the company's business in projectors.

TI's MEMS revenue was down 4 percent last year from 2010 revenue of $810.5 million, with its DLP supply chain affected by the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster in Japan. Nonetheless, the company managed to preserve its perch at the top for the second year in a row thanks to the business in DLP projectors, with their 3-D capability proving a bonus for the education segment in biology or physics presentations.

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